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Sunday Spotlight with Shannon Gomez (Friday edition)

Republic FC defender Shannon Gomez talks about his time with the club, his play, how he unwinds, and more.

Joe de Ocampo/Indomitable City Soccer

I recently caught up with Sacramento Republic FC defender Shannon Gomez. It was something that I wanted to do for some time, so it was good to finally talk with the first-year defender from Trinidad and Tobago. We talked about the season so far, how he would evaluate his play, what he does away from the pitch, and more.

Normally I would have scheduled this to publish on Sunday as part of our Sunday Spotlight series, but with swim championships set for this weekend (yes, all weekend), I’m pushing this interview out today.

I found Gomez to be extremely personable, funny and someone that is really happy to be in Sacramento. It’s worth noting because sometimes this doesn’t come out in a transcribed interview. Anyway, enough of the chit chat. Below is my interview with Gomez.

We’ve been trying to catch up with your some time now Shannon. Have you enjoyed your time with the Republic so far?

I have. I’m having a lot of fun with Sacramento Republic. I am just trying to do well in the games, interact with the fans and the city. I’ve fallen in love with this club. The atmosphere [at Papa Murphy’s Park] is very crazy. It’s something that I think anybody would want to come and experience.

The city is very much behind, lose or draw. The [fans] are always there. As the season has progressed, I’ve just become more comfortable and confident. I feel like every time I go out on the pitch, I owe Sacramento something.

How would you evaluate your own play? You seem to be comfortable in the left back spot, which was key to the two wins last week.

I think it’s just a mental thing. Obviously, I am a right-wing back, can play right-winger probably too. I think it’s more on the mental side when the coach decides...hey, we need you to play this position, [you have to say] I’m just going to give it 110 percent. I’m going to play to the best of my abilities. When coach Elliott put me at left back, I was just ready to my job. I think it was better for the team and we came away with two wins in a row, which is big for us. We needed that.

Where do you think the club is at right now?

I think we’re in a good place right now in terms of the season. We’ve put some pressure on teams with the last two wins. We’re not satisfied. We’re hungry for more. We want to be that team at the end of the season. That’s everyone’s individual and common goal.

I think right now, we’ve been doing well, but we want to hold ourselves to higher standards. We want to win games more convincingly. We want to close games out with clean sheets. We want to make our home field a fortress. Somewhere that opposing teams don’t want to play.

We have little areas where we still need to improve, which we’re working on. The trophy is there for us. Everyone is going to fight to get there, but it comes down to who wants it the most. We are going to prepare ourselves to be that team as best as we can.

Talk about your experience with your national team. What is it like putting on the uniform and representing your country?

I think it’s an honor for any player to represent their national team. I’ve cherished the opportunity. Every moment that I’ve gotten to play for the national team, even starting back from U20s, was a special moment in my life. As soon as I put on the red, black and white, I’m very honored to play for my country.

[And] I look forward to being back there at some point. Trinidad and Tobago is a small country, but has a big passion for the game. They take pride in terms of what they want you to bring to the national team. There is always a lot of belief going into games...we’ve done it with some of the best. We’ve done it with local players also. What can you bring to the table?

When you’re not on the pitch, what do you like to do to unwind?

I like hanging out with my teammates. It creates a closer bond between us. [It allows] us to understand each other better because we come from all walks of life. I like going to places where you can relax, like the pool or going to a water park. Just somewhere where you’re not thinking about soccer the whole time. We’re always locked into the week to get ready for games, but at some point, [you need] to refresh yourself, [go] get some food with some friends and learn something new besides soccer.

I usually hang out with our captain Jeremy Hall because of his knowledge and expertise. He’s been in the game a long time and shares his experiences and things he does to prepare himself for games, but he’s also a guy who knows all of Sacramento, so he’s someone I hang out with most of the time. We listen to music, play some basketball...which I am terrible at by the way [laughs].

Any fun, quirky thing about you that fans wouldn’t know?

[Laughs]. I’m a joker. I really try not to take life too seriously. Some moments I’m funny, some moments I’m not, but most times...I’ve very goofy. Most people probably know that by now. But on the field, I’m a whole different character. I just transform when it’s game time. At the end of the day, I probably want to win the game more than the opponent does, but off the field, I’m probably one of the biggest jokesters and that’s what my teammates know me to be. I’m one of the guys always dancing in the dressing room, horsing around with Wilson [Kneeshaw], playing music.

That’s just me. I just like to smile. Nothing too crazy. Just [trying to have] keeps us from being too uptight and serious with each other sometimes.

Thank you to Shannon Gomez for spending some time talking with us. You can follow him on Twitter at @ShannonGomez02.