The man who gives Paul Caligiuri heart attacks

by Art Eftekhari

a devout family man and fan of barcelona, goalkeeper brandon gomez has been one of the many bright spots for ocfc in the 2017 npsl season

Irvine, CA – Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brandon Gomez began playing soccer at a young age and it didn’t take long for him to discover his talent as a goalkeeper.

“I started playing soccer as a forward but one day when I was six years-old, our goalie didn’t show up,” said Gomez. “So I jumped in goal. During the game I saved a penalty and I felt like a hero. Since then, I couldn’t get away from the goal.”

While growing up, Brandon’s favorite outfield soccer player was French legend Zinedine Zidane but his favorite goalie was Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

“Buffon was my idol,” said Gomez. “I would spend hours watching his highlight videos on YouTube before every game but my favorite player today is Neymar because he puts on a magic show every single game. But to me the greatest player of all time is Lionel Messi.”

Brandon Gomez is currently a student at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa and has built up his resume by playing in leagues such as the Premier Development League, Los Angeles Premier League, and the United Premier Soccer League but he felt something special the moment he signed up to play for Orange County FC.

“When I first joined OCFC in the summer of 2016, I felt great,” said Gomez. “I love what owner Nader Debash is doing with the club. In only one year he has done great things and I truly believe that from now on, the only place for OCFC to go is up.”

Prior to the current NPSL season, Brandon had the opportunity to be trained by Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, former captain and starting keeper for the national team of Iran.

“That experience was one of a kind,” said Gomez. “He had drills I had never seen before." 

"I wish I would’ve trained with him longer. It would’ve definitely helped me immensely in the long run. Getting trained by someone of his caliber was very special.”

OCFC currently have five wins and two draws and everyone has been quick to point out the expertise of head coach Paul Caligiuri.

“Coach Paul is highly respected by all of his guys and his knowledge of the game plays a huge role in the success that the team has had this season,” said Gomez.

“I believe that Paul and assistant coach Ernie Richau work very well together. We are willing to work hard for our coaches and ourselves and that is one of the most important characteristics of championship teams.”

Brandon has been on top form this season by making big saves in big moments but he has also entertained OCFC supporters on more than one occasion with his dribbling skills while faking out opposing strikers, much to the chagrin of Paul Caligiuri.

“The fact that I have always played on the field has made me confident when I have the ball at my feet. That has become one of my strong points,” said Gomez. “I like to switch it up at times only because it gives coach Paul heart attacks. I hear it from him after every game but it seems like he is learning to trust me little by little.”

Known as one of the jokesters on OCFC according to captain Erik Mueller, it’s not surprising that Brandon has caused Caligiuri’s stomach to turn a few times. However, it is also safe to say that Brandon Gomez is one of the reasons why Paul Caligiuri can pump his fists in delight when the referee blows the final whistle.