Dual Functionality: Senior uses soccer as a learning experience, outlet for enjoyment

Andrea Mendes

While some students pursue big dreams as sports superstars, others are content with simply playing a sport they enjoy. For senior Ben Gonzales, soccer has been a fun physical outlet as he juggles school, work, friends, and family.

“I love being able to go out there and just play the game,” Ben said. “It’s a rush being on the field with your adrenaline going, and you’re just ready to play.”

With his parents motivation, Ben began playing soccer through a city league at the age of six and continued through middle school, eventually playing for Bryan High.

“My parents think it’s really important to get kids involved with physical activity at a young age to keep fit, so sports were a regular thing for [my family],” Ben said. “I was the first one in my family to really start playing soccer, and it’s become a huge part of my life.”

Ben said his experience with high school soccer has introduced him to some of his closest friends and has forged a close bond with his teammates over the years.

“I’ve met some really great guys here,” Ben said. “It’s always fun with all the crazy things we do, and I’ve just really enjoyed our time[together]. I’ve made some memories that will last a really long time.”

Participation in sports promotes teamwork and aids in teaching athletes how to overcome obstacles and work together as one. Ben said that soccer, above anything, has taught him that it doesn’t matter how good of an individual player you can be- if you can’t play as a team, the effort is voided.

“Beating Consol this year was by far the coolest thing,” Ben said. “We didn’t have a good season, but having that win made everything so much better. If there was one game we needed to win, it was that one, and we did it. We pulled it together for that game.”

Under the guidance of Coach Morales, Coach Ruiz, and Coach Almon, Ben has been able to improve his soccer skills over the years and be shaped into the soccer player, and person, he is today.

“At times you may feel like you’re at odds with the [coaches], but at the end of the day they’re rooting for you,” Ben said. “Most of the time they’re really just trying to teach you a life lesson. Looking back at some situations and how immature I was before, I realize how they have changed me and I’m thankful for that.”

Throughout Ben’s years of playing soccer, his family has provided a sound support system. One of five kids, Ben said he enjoys being the middle child with both younger and older siblings to spend time with.

“I’m not really used to being lonely since there are so many of us, and I really like being around my family,” Ben said. “My parents have a lot of confidence in me and everything I do. They’re really glad I’m on top of my grades and staying active by playing soccer, and as long as I’m happy, they support me in whatever I do.”

As Ben finishes up his senior year, he closes the chapter to high school and prepares to attend Texas A&M’s School of Engineering in the fall. Ben said he hopes younger students enjoy their time in high school, because before they know it, their time there will be up.

“My message to younger people is to always have confidence,” Ben said. “Looking back now, I know there were countless times during games and in high school that I, and my teammates, had the wrong mentality. You have to believe you’re going to do well, and that confidence will transcend into your performance in everything.”