BY ADAM SERRANO
The past two months have been a roller coaster ride for Herculez Gomez, but now its finally time to get back to work with his new club, Pachuca.
The U.S. International and his new club are currently competing in Superliga as they prepare for their opening Clasura match this weekend against America. Before then, the club will take part in their final Superliga group game against Chivas USA on Wednesday. Although the forward earned the Campeon Goleador with Puebla scoring ten goals for the club, he admits that there is plenty to work on in this his first season with Pachuca.
"Last season with Puebla, I burst on the scene and earned an individual award, but I didn't have the impact that I would like on my team," said Gomez. "I'd like to win team trophies in the Mexican first division, I know its not an easy league to play in and I know that this year I'm going to have a target on my back."
Gomez is joined at Pachuca by Americans Marco Vidal and his fellow World Cup teammate, Jose Torres. The presence of three Americans has offered Gomez a familiar aspect as he looks to transition to a club like Pachuca. With several Americans on the team, the Tuzos have seen their profile grow in the American market. To the forward, this can only help the American soccer development.
"Them being American and having them grow in the same way that I grow up makes the transition a lot easier," said Gomez. "I think that Americans look at Pachuca in the same way that they look at Fulham, they're adopting us as their second team. We're not only opening doors for players to go abroad but for Americans to open their hearts to a Mexican team. "
The 28-year-old striker had a few words of encouragement for his fellow member of the United States World Cup team, Jonathan Bornstein who recently signed a pre-contract deal with Tigres UANL. Bornstein is part of a growing list of players with American backgrounds to join the Mexican league.
"Mexico is all about making the most of your opportunities and Jonny has a great opportunity because (Tigres) is a huge club in Mexico in terms of stature and in terms of tradition," said Gomez. "He's got a great opportunity not only to represent not only the United States, but also the Chicano soccer player.
Bornstein is part of a list of high profile American players that are beginning to be accepted as viable options for the Mexican first division. However, the list is greater of young Latinos like Torres who bypass American youth clubs to join Mexican Academies. Gomez feels that catching players at this nexus is vital as the U.S. team looks forward to future World Cups.
"Guys like Jose and myself have slipped through the cracks and they don't want to risk losing them," said Gomez."Latino families see the logos of Pachuca and Chivas and that's what they trust so that's where they go and I believe that MLS is realizing this so that's why they are developing youth academies.
We need teams to start taking chances on players much like Curt Onfalo has on (Andy) Najar, clubs around the world take million dollar chances on players and we need to start taking those chances."
With the focus beginning to turn to the start of the Mexican league, Gomez is focused on this stage of his career and his time with Pachuca.
"Being frank, I turned down an offer to go to Europe to come to Pachuca because Pachuca is a team that embodies what it means to be a champion," said Gomez. "They're a World Class team and everyday I try to learn and get better and Pachuca is a team where I can learn and grow as a player and a person."