Trinidad and Tobago defender Shannon Gomez completed his first professional overseas move this week to American Major League Soccer club New York City FC.
The 19-year-old describes the move as the highlight of his career so far and he also mentions some of the people who have helped him along the way so far.
“Being coached by one of the best to ever play the game in coach Patrick Vieira and playing alongside some of the very best and popular names in football in Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa is an absolute privilege,” Gomez says.
TTFA Media: What is the feeling like after securing your first overseas professional move?
SG: In the last couple of days I’ve been feeling a great sense of happiness! Knowing what I wanted for myself and my career to reach to another level. I feel as if I stepped onto another level and another new start of a chapter in my career by securing my first overseas contract.
TTFA Media: What was the trial period like?
SG: The trial with New York City FC was intense but very enjoyable. Upon joining the NYCFC team & staff, they made me feel very comfortable and they were very welcoming with open arms. It was a joy to come out on the pitch and work with the guys because of their encouragement. It made it easier for me to play and display my talent to show what new I can bring to the team.
TTFA Media: What’s it been like working with a personality and world figure such as Patrick Vieira?
SG: Working with coach Patrick Vieira is an experience any young player would dream of. He is a very good coach who gives his players the confidence and privilege to play and express themselves while carrying out their respective roles & functions simultaneously. This is helping me to give my best each session. So far I’m enjoying and learning new things from him as he was a former great player back in his time as a footballer, which makes it even more exciting for me.
TTFA Media: What are your immediate ambitions having now crossed the first hurdle?
SG: My immediate ambitions are to learn as much positive things as I can to improve my game and work my hardest to break in the first team and stay there. I want to give it my best everytime I get the opportunity.
TTFA Media: What made you fall in love with the game?
SG: I think the beauty of the game itself is what made me fall in love with it. It’s like the beauty of a person or a woman (laughs) inside and out makes you fall in love. The way it changes your life as a person, your family, the people around you, the worldwide love for the game and the respect you can gain as well as have for the sport.
TTFA Media: Tell us in a few words about Shannon Gomez.
SG: I think I am a smiling and very easygoing person. I love to be happy and I will work my hardest to reach where I want to be and not settle for average. And I believe in God. With God anything is possible. Dreams can n become a reality. I am strong because of my family and support. I will work hard to make sure they are comfortable.
TTFA Media: What has been the highlight of your relatively short career so far?
SG: I think the highlight of my career so far is this very moment where I have been able to secure my first overseas contract. Being coached by one of the best to ever play the game in coach Patrick Vieira and playing alongside some of the very best and popular names in football in Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa is an absolute privilege.
TTFA Media: What has contributed or led to where you are today? Who are some of the individuals who’ve been at your side along this journey so far?
SG: My first club, St Mary’s United definitely has to be on this list.
And the coaches include in W Connection’s Stuart Charles-Fevrier for helping me to develop the tactical side of my game both offensively and defensively and helping me to understand the lifestyle of a professional footballer. Thanks also to the W Connection club.
I also have to mention San Juan Jabloteh and its staff who helped me in my development as a youth and one of their best coaches in Dave Weekes.
I looked closely at players such as Philip Lahm, Dani Alves and Daniel Carvajal as they play in positions on the field where I play and they are the best at it.
TTFA Media: How much has making your senior international debut against Panama last March helped you over the past few months as your progressed towards your position at NYCFC today?
SG: Making my debut for my country has drastically helped me in my approach to games and the level I should be performing at and understanding what it takes in terms of working hard to maintain that standard of performance everytime I step onto the pitch.
TTFA Media : Thank You Shannon for taking the time to share your thoughts with us and we’d like to wish you the best in your new position with NYCFC.
SG: Thanks for the opportunity and I will definitely try my best to perform creditably and do proudly for the Red, White and Black.