The Fort Worth area produced a wealth of talented players, but none made quite the splash of Fort Worth South Hills freshman Esmeralda Gonzales.
Gonzales, who had 71 goals and 18 assists in the regular season, is the Player of the Year on the 2013 Star-Telegram girls soccer Super Team.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” South Hills coach Jamie Southern said. “I’ve seen her all year and I definitely think she’s deserving of this honor. I haven’t seen a girl better than her all season, so I definitely think she deserves it.”
Gonzales averaged four goals per game in District 13-4A play, and surpassed the school’s single-season scoring record just 17 matches into her career, netting 45 in that span. The South Hills record she eclipsed was set by her older sister, Sandra, just last season.
“Coming in as a freshman she played very mature for her age,” Southern said. “I knew what I had, but I didn’t quite know what I had until she started putting the goals in every single game.”
Southern attributes much of Gonzales’ success to taking every opponent seriously.
“She’s confident, and not scared of anything,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which team we’re playing, whether it’s a first-place team or a last-place team, she goes out there the same.”
It took some of the girls on the team a little while to warm up to this newcomer, but it wasn’t long before they were a close-knit family, with family being an operative word for the South Hills team.
“I think at the beginning they weren’t as accepting, but now they see what her personality is,” Southern said. “She is a leader and she just doesn’t lead by telling girls, she leads by example.”
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.
Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?