Garret Gomez hasn’t been able to talk for the past few weeks. The departing senior, on his way to Furman University in South Carolina to play on scholarship, had to get one last tune-up before his parents sent him away—a non-sports related jaw surgery to correct an under bite.
With a splint in his mouth, Gomez’s vocabulary has been limited to “yes,” “no,” and “okay.” And a few other words, but luckily for him he’s had a father who knows him well enough to do the talking.
Nelson Gomez has been Garret’s leader on and off the field since “day one,” Garret said.
Nelson, a Long Island, N.Y. native, coached Garret in rec league growing up before taking the goalie coach job at Lambert.
Naturally, Garret received 24 hours of coaching seven days a week, and fit in the net before he knew what hit him.
“My mom always says we have the same personality,” Gomez said through an email interview while recovering from surgery. “Like father, like son. We joke around together and always find a way to have fun.”
Gomez’s mentorship from his father paid off. For the second year in a row, he was named a high school all-American. He finished all-state, as well as all-area, as a senior after grabbing 143 saves at a success rate of 65 percent.
He gives all the credit to his coach.
“It’s hard having a father as your coach. He will push you harder than any other player. He always wants to see me do my best so it’s difficult when you have that pressure. We had a fair share of arguments during practices, but I love him and I know that he wants me to play my best,” Garret said.
Garret helped the Longhorns to a 16-3 campaign in 2015. Despite falling to Pope in a heartbreaker in the first round of the state playoffs, he’s proud of what he’s leaving behind.
“In my opinion it was the best season in Lambert’s history,” Gomez said. “I know the outcome was not what we expected, but my team left it all out on the field each game.”
Question: What does winning lacrosse player of the year mean to you?
Gomez: “It means a lot. It shows all of the hard work paid off. I coach a lot of youth goalies around the community and one thing I always tell them is, if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything you want. My goal through high school was to become the best goalie in the state. Being selected for this is icing on the cake.”
Question: How’d you get into lacrosse?
Gomez: “It was a combination of my friends and Dad. My best friends all made the transition from baseball to lacrosse. I started playing midfield and attack until one game we didn’t have a goalie so my Dad convinced me to step in, and I loved it.”
Question: What are your goals moving forward?
Gomez: “I will attend Furman on a lacrosse scholarship. Academically, I want to be a doctor so I will go into the pre-med field. Lacrosse related, I am hoping to start my freshman year in goal. Furman has one of the best goalies in the Southern Conference. My goal is to beat him out and become the No. 1 goalie in the Southern Conference.”