Interview with Gordinho.
Kevin: Your website says you were born in California; what brought you and your family to San Antonio?
Gordinho: First I would like to say thank you sir for your time and interviewing me. Yes, I am from California and was born in the city of Santa Monica. I moved to San Antonio with my family in July of 2009 when I was 14 years old. We came out to visit family in 2007 for Christmas and my parents fell in love with San Antonio. I'm really glad we moved to San Antonio. I really like it here.
Kevin: When did you start to play soccer?
Gordinho: I started kicking a soccer ball at the age of 4. That is when my dad introduced me to the game. He would take me to his games when he was playing with Cruz Azul, of the Tolteca Semi-Pro League, and I would just run around the field kicking a soccer ball. At age 5 I started playing in a rec league for a team called "Firecrackers". The following year at 6 years old I played on my dad's rec team called "Power Puff Kids". My dad took notice of how much I loved the game and was learning quickly. He decided then to teach me and to this day he still continues to train me.
Kevin: How did you get your start in Mexico? Was that the catalyst to getting noticed by Genova?
Gordinho: At 18, I was seen by a few Fuerzas Basicas coaches from pro Mexican clubs. At the time I was playing with a semi-pro team called Corinthians FC of San Antonio when they first saw me. The coaches were from Pumas, America, Rayados and León. They all invited me for a 2 week tryout in Mexico. I went to León first because we have family there and things went really well for me. After the 2 week trial the coaching staff asked me to stay on for the remainder of the season. So, I ended up staying for 4 months. After that I went to play for Coras de Tepic of the professional 2nd division of Mexico.
Genova saw me earlier this year  in Dallas at a soccer clinic. After the clinic the coaches approached me and asked if I had ever played professionally. I guess my game showed it or something. I told them I played in Mexico for León and Coras and they asked if I would like to head out to Italy and train at their academy.
Kevin: How long were you in Italy?
Gordinho: I am currently in Italy and I will stay at the Genova Academy for three months. After that I need to return to the States because my visa is only good for 90 days and I must wait another 90 days before I can return. While here I am currently playing against 2nd and 3rd division teams.
Kevin: What is it like living and playing soccer as a foreigner?
Gordinho: I loved it! I really felt at home because quite a few players at the academy spoke English and Spanish. Playing and training at the Genova Academy is awesome. Let me tell you something; It is the best training I have ever had so far in my career. I wish every player could get a taste of training and playing in Europe. It is simply the best soccer in the world.
Kevin: Have you seen any 1st team playing time yet?
Gordinho: Not in a game but I have trained with the first team in León. That was really cool. I also trained with the first team of the San Antonio Scorpions from the NASL. I trained with them before I returned to Mexico to play with Coras FC.
Kevin: Do you see yourself staying in Europe or coming back to possibly play in the NASL or MLS?
Gordinho: With hard work and dedication I could see myself playing for a team in Europe. I mean, who would not want to play in Europe? The pro leagues from Italy, Germany, Spain and England are the best in the world. I would also love to play in Mexico, MLS and South America. I will play where ever soccer takes me.
Kevin: Tell me about Gordinho's Buddies.
Gordinho: Gordinho Buddies is a foundation I started with my dad when I was about 15 years old. It is a non-profit organization and we collect and give old soccer uniforms, equipment, shoes and soccer balls to inner city soccer clubs. Gordinho's Buddies is growing more now because I am able to do a lot more for the foundation because of where I am in my soccer career. This year, for the first time, Gordinho's Buddies will give Christmas trees and televisions to needy families for the Holidays. I really love helping and giving back to my community. When I make it in this sport and become known worldwide, I will open a soccer academy and provide free soccer training to all kids.
Kevin: How did you come up with the nickname "Gordinho"?
Gordinho: This is funny because I get this question asked to me a lot. This is how I got the nickname Gordinho; In Latin families it is a custom to call male babies when they are born, "Gordo". This means "chubby" in English, but when said in Spanish it's meant as an endearing form of love. So, throughout my childhood my mom and dad would call me "Gordo". One day at 10 years old my dad took me to a Barcelona game and I saw a player on the pitch that left me simply hypnotized with his footwork and charisma. That is also when I knew I wanted to be a professional soccer player. The player I am talking about is Ronaldinho and from that day on I told everybody to call me Gordinho. I kept the loving nick name my parents called me and simply added the letters I, N, H, O, to it. It's a great story, right?
Kevin: What is one thing that you are proud of?
Gordinho: One thing that many people do not know of and I am really proud and honored to have accomplished is that I am Lady Bird Johnson High School's first alumnus to become a professional athlete in school history! No matter what I do in my life, from now on, I will always be on Johnson's Hall of Fame wall. That is really cool if you ask me. It'll be an awesome story to tell my children and grandchildren.
Kevin: What are your plans for the future?
Gordinho: It is definitely in my plans to return to Italy or possibly be headed to Spain instead. My manager is currently in negotiations with a team from Spain and I might be signing a contract. God willing, and with a little luck, it might happen but I have learned to not sweat it and simply relax. If it happens, then it happens. If I don't sign, it's no problem. I will keep moving forward and keep training hard to be even more ready when that contract signing day comes. I won't stop playing and will keep fighting with heart and soul to fulfill my dream of playing professional soccer.
Update on Gordinho.
Since my interview with Jonathan a few weeks ago, a couple exciting things have happened for him.
Early in September, the Bolivian National Football Team was in Houston for an international friendly against Argentina. Jonathan was contacted by its head coach, Julio Baldivieso, who is looking for more Bolivian youth internationals to potentially take over more of his roster spots. Jonathan was invited to meet with coach Baldivieso and was able to participate in a short workout with the team. Bolivia lost to Argentina, 0-7.
Jonathan has also been contacted by the Spanish 3rd division team, Fútbol Club Jove Español San Vicente, commonly known as Jove Español, about possibly joining their team. He wouldn't be able to join until January of 2016 due to roster rules. The director of the Genova International School of Soccer, where Jonathan has been training at, Morris Pagniello, reached out to Jove on behalf of Jonathan. A few other Genova Academy players have signed with the team recently.
Lastly, in the beginning of November, Jonathan will be headed to Mexico to train with Calor of San Pedro, or Club Calor, in the Mexican 2nd division.
While Jonathan loves playing soccer in Mexico, if he is offered a contract to sign in Spain, he would likely go to play in Europe as he would be fulfilling his dream. I will be continuing to follow Jonathan's travels and will update as he finds his next soccer adventures.
Born: December 7, 1994. Santa Monica, California
Nickname: Gordinho - Pronounced: Gor-Deen-Yo
Height: 6' 0" - Weight: 170lbs
Current Team: Genova Academy. Ovada, Italy
Position: L/R Outside/Center Midfielder and Forward
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