By Juan Arellano
For many high-school athletes, playing a sport at a varsity level is a big task within itself. Jonathan Gonzalez, a senior at Fort Lupton High School, is not only stepping up as one of the captains and leaders of the soccer team during his senior season but is also an important part of the football team as the starting place-kicker.
“It makes me feel amazing. It makes me feel like I’m doing something good on and off the field. But at some points, it does get stressful,” Gonzalez said.
The stress is not only competing at a high level on both sports but also being put in dangerous situations that can lead to an injury and affect his playing time.
“Just last week in the homecoming game I had to make two tackles,” he said. “I was scared because he was like 6 feet 4 inches, 200-something pounds, and it was scary. But after I made the first tackle, I wasn’t worried. When it comes to kicking, they throw themselves onto the ball, and I can get a helmet to the knee and there goes my season. so that’s the bad thing about that. It’s just a 50-50, I guess.”
The head boys soccer coach for the Bluedevils, Kyle Reddy, also said that although he doesn’t try to restrict Gonzalez on the player’s desire to be on the football team, there are certain things that he asks the senior midfielder to take into consideration.
“If we have a big game coming up, yeah I’ll be like, ‘No you gotta be here with me at soccer training.’ But if we do not have a game for a couple days, I’ll let him go kick. And I heard he is a hell of a good kicker,” Reddy said.
This is Gonzalez’ second season wearing the helmet and shoulder pads. He is kicking the pigskin better this year. He’s hit field goals in practice from more than 50 yards; his longest in a regular season game is a 37-yard field goal in a 28-25 win against Lamar High School Sept. 3, according to MaxPreps.com. That newfound success on the gridiron is making him consider pursuing football, despite playing soccer all his life.
“I went to CSU-Pueblo just to go see the team, and it’s nice. I wouldn’t mind playing football if it came down to that,” Gonzalez said “Coach Kyle has told me that I’m an amazing player for soccer but to always take football into consideration with the bigger opportunity. And the football coach (George Ramirez) told me to not play soccer anymore, to commit to football (as a joke).”
“Good for him,” Reddy said. “Good for all the multisport athletes that I have. I just want to see the best for them. Win or lose, as long as you go put the heart out on the field, I’ll be happy.”
One thing is certain. Gonzalez wants to continue his success in both sports. The boys' soccer team is 7-2 in the regular season through Sept. 23. Gonzalez scored seven goals, and the football team is off to a great start, winning three of its first four games of the season.