One of Seton Hall’s very own, freshman soccer player Eva Gonzalez, had the opportunity to showcase her talents not just at the collegiate level this summer, but on the global stage.
Back in June, she got the chance to play for the Mexico U-20 side and participate in different tournaments on the international level. While at Seton Hall, she has had little time to adjust and has been called back down to the Mexican national team.
Gonzalez hails from Mesquite, Texas. She helped lead Bishop Lynch high school’s soccer team to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Division I state title last spring. In her senior year, she racked up over 40 assists and 60 points.
No stranger to playing at the international level, Gonzalez was still in high school when she was one of the stars for the U-17 team during an undefeated run at the 2013 CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Gold Cup. Gonzalez then followed up that title-winning performance by leading Mexico to advance to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica back in 2014.
The Garden State is a long trip from Texas, but in regard to taking her talents to South Orange, Gonzalez was sold.
“I chose Seton Hall University because of the atmosphere on campus,” she said. “Also, when it comes down to it, I wanted to come to a school where I could get a good education, because in the end that is all that matters. It was a bonus when I saw how beautiful the campus was and when I found out that it is more of a small school.”
Before she got to the Hall, Gonzalez was called to participate in the 2015 U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational hosted by U.S. Soccer at the National Training Center in California back in June. The tournament she played in was a round-robin style tournament that included Japan, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.
“Playing with Mexico over the summer was amazing,” she said. “We actually traveled to California to play a few teams. Most of the time we were in Mexico, which I did not mind either. Let’s also say that the food is top notch. But on a more serious note, the training down there is always great it is probably the best I have ever gone through.”
Gonzalez was unable to be in South Orange for the beginning of the season, as she was down in Mexico participating in the U-20 team’s training camp. The team spent their time training for the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship. The championship will take place in Honduras in December. This tournament will determine who out of the region will be the three entrants into the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
With missing the initial start of the season, it took Gonzalez some time to get used to the world of collegiate soccer.
“It’s taken some time for her to adjust, she missed about two weeks in the start of the season and it took her some time to catch up but she’s staring to fit in really well” Seton Hall coach Rick Stainton said. “She has an incredible personality and takes great pride in the game. She’s very hardworking and has an overall positive influence on the team.”
Even though the season is still early and Gonzalez has only played in a small number of games, she will be leaving the squad again after the team’s match with Cornell on Thursday. On this trip down, Gonzalez will be working with the U-20 team and continuing to train in order to qualify for the U-20 World Cup.
“We’re losing her again after the Cornell game,” Stainton said. “Obviously it’s a great opportunity we support. She’s working toward U-20 World Cup qualifying. Again, it’s an incredible opportunity. I foresee her making the squad, and it will help with her overall development in playing in college. We’ll be OK without her but we’ll miss her creativity on the field and the way she passes.”
“I am going down for training before we head off to qualifying for the world cup in December,” Gonzalez said in regard to going back down to play with the Mexican team. “I am very excited about going back down. It is an honor and a blessing to be going back to represent my country.”
Gonzalez has had the chance to bring different talents to the field after finding her way into the starting lineup for the Pirates.
“Her creativity is her best asset,” Stainton said. “She helps us link up and connect the lines as we like to say.”
Besides the way she passes the ball and works hard on the field, the team values her for her character.
“She’s got a great sense of humor,” Stainton said. “She’s able to relate with her teammates and has a compassionate side to her, but she knows when to be lose. Overall, she’s very mature.”
In her absence, the Pirates will be losing a key starter in matchups such as Albany as well as getting ready for the start of Big East play. In the time she has been at the Hall, Gonzalez has played for a combination of 381 minutes where she played in six games and started in three.
While she’s gone, Gonzalez has high hopes for her fellow teammates.
“I hope that the team keeps building on what we have and keeps staying strong,” she said. “We have the ability to be an amazing team and I hope that they stay at it.”
With the excitement of playing internationally, Gonzalez hasn’t forgot about her Pirate roots.
“I am proud to be a pirate,” she said “And it’s an amazing feeling to look around and see that everyone around me is proud to be one also.”
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @OliviaMulvihill.