Fort Worth South Hills striker Esmeralda Gonzales kept soccer fans waiting barely a minute to see what they came for.
With a few cuts and shifts inside the 18-yard box, she worked herself free and fired into the back of the net, as she’d done 285 times before as a high school player.
But this goal Thursday against Fort Worth Trimble Tech, the 286th of her high school career, tied the national career scoring mark, held by Erin Martin of Temple City, Calif., since 1992. South Hills won 10-0.
Almost seven minutes later, Gonzales was fouled in the penalty area, leaving little doubt about when the record would fall.
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Excitement. Just excitement. I was just excited to the fullest.
Esmeralda Gonzales on her feelings after breaking the scoring record
With confidence and power, she blasted a shot into the upper right part of the net, then turned and raced toward the sideline — toward her teammates and coaches, toward family and friends in the stands, some who were holding up gold balloons that that spelled out “287.”
“Excitement. Just excitement,” Gonzales described the moment. “I was just excited to the fullest.”
It was the pinnacle of a career that started with 74 goals as a freshman three years ago, when she was named the Star-Telegram Super Team Player of the Year. It wasn’t until late last season, though, that the record became a target.
“She told me, ‘Coach, I can go after that record,’ ” South Hills coach Jamie Southern said. “She’s been playing so well, it’s not fair for me to punish her by pulling her out of games. So, I told her for her senior year I’m going to let her go for it.”
Gonzales finished the night with nine goals, giving her 87 for the season and 294 in all. A halftime ceremony marked the occasion.
“When I broke the state record, that’s when I started processing that I could do it,” Gonzales said. “He said if you want it, go for it, and I told him I wanted it. I’m going to keep going and see how many goals I can end up with.”
She told me, ‘Coach, I can go after that record.’ She’s been playing so well, it’s not fair for me to punish her by pulling her out of games. So, I told her for her senior year I’m going to let her go for it.
South Hills coach Jamie Southern on Gonzales
Fort Worth ISD national marks
Soccer goals, career
11.16 sec. (2nd)
TD passes, game
9 (T 9th)
TD catches, game
8 (T 1st)
Field goals, career
48 (T 3rd)
Home runs, game
5 (T 1st)
13 (T 9th)
Runs scored, game
7 (T 3rd)