Sunday, January 25, 2009

Herc Gunning for Rapids at Season Opener

The Colorado Rapids will play the Kansas City Wizards in their home opener at the end of March and a former DSG Park favorite is looking to spoil the celebrations. I caught up with former Rapid, Herculez Gomez, around Christmas time and he said he was very much looking forward to that game in Commerce City. "I have nothing but good memories of Colorado but I would love nothing more than hurting my old team," he said. Always combative, Gomez said he felt the move to Kansas during the season last year had really helped him. He started every game bar one since the trade and he likes the cohesion of the Kansas City team and his role in it. "I am in a neat position there as a right-sided midfielder," he said. "I feel I have good attributes for that position." It does help a player's confidence if he can get a regular start, something that did not happen last season in Colorado. But Gomez bears no grudges and thinks the team will do well under Gary Smith. "I have nothing but the utmost respect for him," he said. "He is very honest with all the players and he is smart enough to know that, if a player is not happy, he will not get the best out of him." The trade to Kansas was handled with great respect by Smith, Gomez added.
So what has Herc been doing to keep fit during the close season? Training a lot with his brother who is a professional martial arts fighter. That has helped strength and cardio fitness. By now, Gomez will have reported for preseason. Unlike the Rapids, Kansas are due to go abroad and will be visiting Guadalajara as well as Bradenton in Florida during the preseason. Gomez is in his last year of an MLS contract and said he would not rule out Mexico as a possible soccer destination for him. He does hold a Mexican passport as well as a US one. But, for now, he is enjoying life in Kansas City and would like to stay there if the next season works out well for him. "I like the direction this team is going in," he said. "This is the first time in a while that I feel like I am playing in a team with a strong identity." One of the things he did enjoy last year was linking up with former Argentine star, Claudio Lopez, who has re-signed with Kansas. "I kind of meshed with him," Herc said. "He is not the youngest but he is very smart and makes excellent runs."
You are always said to see good players and good people leave your team but the move to Kansas seems to be working out well so far for Herc. We wish him well for the season except, of course, for the DSG Park opener.


Scott said...

Thanks for this piece Nick, I really miss Herc and definately want the best for him. I am just sad that it is not with the Rapids.

Anonymous said...

I wish Herc well in KC, too bad he never really found that much traction in CO.

Nick, sorry for asking a question totally unrelated to the topic at hand, but do you have any sense as to where the Rapids stand in securing a sponsor (for the jersey)? It's incredible that San Jose has already found a sponsor, RSL has a sponsor, Columbus has a sponsor, yet Colorado hasn't been able to make anything happen.

Obviously other smaller market clubs have been successful, so I'm wondering what the specific problem for the Rapids has been (just ascribing it to the "economy" doesn't fly as a reasonable answer). Thanks for your thoughts.

Nick Thomas said...

Joey, I don't have any inside knowledge on the sponsor issue. I know the Rapids blog did write up something on that fairly recently. I can try and ask about it in the near future.