By Kevin Parada, Staff Writer, Class of 2020
Mr. Jovanni Gonzalez, Spanish teacher and varsity soccer coach, has personally pushed me to my limits and has influenced me the most in my four years at Verbum Dei High School. As he is my soccer coach, he has inspired me to physically and mentally push myself to become a better person, a team player, and a captain on and off the soccer field.
A memory that will forever push me harder was a conversation on a day after practice when I asked him to help me out with extra training.
“Kevin you don’t need any more training, skills, or fundamentals,” said Mr. Gonzalez. “It looks like you don’t want it deep down; I’ve seen you play, and recently it shows that you do not want it.” That encounter has always taught me that I have way more in me that I need to dig out to better myself and the people around me. Mr. Gonzalez helped me to see the light that I needed to never give up on my dream of playing soccer.
The year of that exchange was a low point in my soccer career as I was not pushing myself hard on or off the field – my studies included. I chose to push myself harder, and a year later, I became the varsity Captain by the team’s vote. I led the team to become the first VDHS soccer team to become undefeated Santa Fe League champions.
I sincerely thank Mr. Gonzalez for being a great coach, mentor, teacher, and leader to me and my teammates. He taught me to never be satisfied with what I could easily obtain; rather, he inspired me to reach toward difficult goals that afford me challenges. That effort, he assured me, will pay off and will inspire and motivate the people around me.