Young Panther adds depth to high scoring team

Four games into the season, and the men’s soccer team has started off by splitting the games, their most recent a 4-3 win against Florida Gulf Coast.

Several players have stood out so far this season after just four games, making an immediate impact for the Panthers. Junior Roberto Alterio has shined for the team and is currently tied for first in the conference with the most scored goals with four.

Another member of the Panthers who has played well early on is standout Sophomore Daniel Gonzalez. In the Panthers most recent win against the Eagles, Gonzalez converted the game-winning goal in the dying minutes to secure the win for FIU.

Coming into the 2013-2014 season, there were high expectations for Gonzalez, who grew up in Miami and played his high school soccer at Miami Killian Senior High. During his time at Killian, Gonzalez netted 76 total goals and was named to the first team All-Dade both his junior and senior year.

As a Miami native, Gonzalez admitted to feeling extra pressure playing in his hometown, where he would have to impress not only his new team and coaching staff, but also his family and friends who have supported him throughout his soccer career while also adjusting to the level of competition.

“The level goes up significantly and it’s always hard to adapt to higher and stronger levels. Luckily for me, I was aware of what was to come and trained all summer to be prepared and excel during my time at FIU,” Gonzalez said.

Excel is exactly what Gonzalez did, overcoming the pressures as a hometown prospect. Gonzalez went on to make the Conference USA third team All-Conference and the conference’s All- Freshman team after finishing out his freshman season with the Panthers; tallying a conference best eight assists.

Soccer has brought plenty of memorable moments to the young sophomore, who has dedicated his life to his greatest passion.

“Many opportunities have come my way playing soccer and they began really early too,” Gonzalez said. “I was lucky enough to be a member of the youth national team pool in 2008, which is a camp featuring the top 40 players in the nation for players born in 1994.”

As a member of the Youth National team, Gonzalez had the chance to travel to Boston and play with some of the nation’s top players in his age group, while receiving training from some of the best coaches the country has to offer.

“I also had an all expense paid trip to London, England with the Disney showcase All-Star team. It is opportunities like these that have played a huge role in my life,” Gonzalez said. “With that being said though, FIU has probably been the most intense experience I’ve had, trying to balance out school, training, games and staying on top of everything. That really is the ultimate test, but I am grateful for this experience.”

Besides attending the Youth National team camp in Boston and flying to London with the Disney Showcase, Gonzalez received the Copa-Dorada Hispanic-Athlete award. An award given to the top Hispanic athletes in Miami, hoping that they will continue in the path of excellence within their sports.

Even with his long list of local and international achievements, Gonzalez still believes his best moments as a soccer player have come from being a member of the Panthers.

 “My best moment as a soccer player has been being able to be a part of such a top-notch Division I program like FIU,” Gonzalez said.

As the season continues, Gonzalez and the rest of the Panthers look to improve as a team behind Head Coach Ken Arena. The Panthers, who are currently ranked third in the nation in scoring, take on North Florida on Sept. 20, their first home game of the season.

Be the first to comment on "Young Panther adds depth to high scoring team"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.