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Hannibal, Mo. – Three Trojans, Ignacio (Nacho) Garrido and Javier Gomez, and Claudio Rivadeneira have agreed to play for Med City FC this summer. Med City FC plays their games in Moorehead, Minnesota during the summer months. They are part of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) which is similar to a prospect league in summer baseball.
We sat down with Nacho and Javi before they left and asked them a few questions about their experience here at HLGU and how it helped them to keep playing beyond college.
The first question was, can you sum up your experience here at HLGU, not just your time on the pitch, but your four years?
Nacho: "My experience at HLGU has been excellent. I owe so much to this college. Even though there have been tough moments, I was helped the whole time to overcome those issues. That is why I owe this much to this institution, they helped me to develop into a better person. They trust on people here and they give second chances, and I am glad they did it with me too, because the four years I spent here have been some of the happiest years of my life. I have met a lot of people that I never expected to meet and I can say I have great friends here which made this place much more amusing."
Javi: "The reason why I enjoyed this place so much is because all of the people I have met here with no exception. Each one of them has taught me something I will always carry with me. I'm so glad I got to meet all of them and I will miss them and this place wherever I go."
Can you share your thoughts on Coach David Erskine and what he has instilled in each of you?
Nacho: "Playing with Coach Erskine has been a constant challenge since day one. When I came here as a freshman I was only able to play in one position in the field, but Coach Erskine moved me to the wing and I had to learn new concepts. Then he moved me back to the midfielder and he taught me how to play faster and how to play good defense. He saw potential in me and he wanted me to learn how to play in every position in the midfield. He taught me everything about positioning, timing and how to read the game better. He shaped me into a more mature player. He gave me confidence and he trusted me when I had the ball on my feet. That freedom that he gave me was the main reason why I played that well my senior year. I became a more efficient player thanks to his instruction and also thanks to Assistant Coach, Ryan Gottier's advice, who was always on me."
Javi: "I remember I thought he was a little intimidating at the beginning, but as the days passed, I had the opportunity to meet him and realized that he is such a great person who will help you through anything on and off the field. Every day, and every practice I had with him and Coach Ryan Gottier I learned something. They made me feel like home, and they are also the main reason why this team has been more like a family. I am really happy to say that this team has achieved great things together on and off the field."
How has HLGU impacted you?
Nacho: "HLGU has impacted me in so many different ways. I came here as kid and I feel like I have become an adult and more mature person. The fact of being far away from my family and to be independent helped me to grow as a person as well. HLGU has also provided me with opportunities to live in a comfortable environment and as I said before, I have spent the happiest years of my life here."
Javi: "HLGU has gave me a lot of experiences and people that I will never forget. It is impossible not to miss it already. This University and people here, made me become more mature, respectful, and also prepared me for the world out there."
How excited are you about the opportunity to play at the next level?
Nacho: "I am very excited about this opportunity that I'm facing. It is what I always dreamed about. Of course my priority was to graduate and get my degree but in my head I always dreamed about playing pro soccer after college. I think this is the perfect place to develop my skills and to attract the attention of other clubs in order to continue playing the beautiful game."
Javi: "I am very excited to have the chance to play at the next level. It is always great to have the opportunity to keep playing soccer and even more with two of my teammates from the last season. I'll just keep working hard to help my future team and teammates and achieve great things with them. It is always exciting to do what you love in this world, which is playing soccer."
Med City FC won their first game on May 13 over LC Aris FC by a score of 4-0. Both Garrido and Lopez played in the game while Rivadenaira continues to nurse an injury that has kept him sidelined.
Learn more about the team at https://www.medcityfc.com/