On the soccer field, Arturo Gomez is a gifted scorer. He’s crafty when the ball’s in the air and superb when it’s on his feet, and can find the net practically with his eyes closed.
But Gomez is about more than scoring. In addition to recording 41 goals, 15 more than anyone else during the fall soccer season, the Chino Valley junior also tied for fifth in Division V with 12 assists, leading Chino Valley to its third consecutive state championship.
Gomez was unmistakably the best player on any field he stepped on this season, and is an easy selection for azcentral sports’ 2015 Fall Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
A forward who also played midfield at times, Gomez likely could’ve added to his prolific totals, but with Chino Valley rolling to a 24-1 record, he was often on the bench for good by halftime.
“His goals are not padded against weak teams. He’s scored goals against good teams, and he’s done it in a lot of ways,” coach Jim Clark said. “The weakest team we played, he played for about 10 minutes, had a couple goals and asked to come out.”
But when Chino Valley did find itself in a tight battle and needed a big play, Gomez usually came through, like when he scored the tying and game-winning goals in the Division V championship match against Lakeside Blue Ridge.
And evidenced by Clark’s willingness to move his top weapon back to the midfield, Gomez was a capable playmaker when needed.
In fact, he enjoys helping others score almost as much as he likes doing it himself.
“Most people that score a lot get looked at like, ‘They don’t pass the ball. They’re just selfish,’ ” he said. “But I think passing makes the game a lot more fun. Always going for the shot, to me, that’s boring.
“When there’s good passing, the game is beautiful. It makes me smile.”
Perhaps Gomez’s biggest contribution this season, besides his clutch play in the final, was his ability to get the most out of others. When skilled freshman forward Jordan Sanchez joined the team to begin the year, Gomez embraced him rather than worrying about the competition for touches he might face.
Sanchez ended up setting a Chino Valley record for goals by a first-year player with 25, which ranked him third in the state.
“You know, a freshman, if they’re not treated right, if they’re separated (from the rest of the team), they’re not going to do well,” Clark said. “But Arturo brought him in and built his confidence, instead of thinking he’s in a different class or something. That’s just who he is.”
With a year of high school still remaining, Gomez will be back out there next season, trying to cap his career with a fourth state championship.
Whether he’s passing or scoring, showing off his own skills or helping to develop others’, he’ll be doing his part to make the game beautiful.
All-Arizona Division V Boys Soccer Team
GK, Spencer Coffin, Sr., Chino Valley
D, Carter Boro, Sr., Lakeside Blue Ridge
D, Garret King, Sr., Chino Valley
D, Edgar Sanchez, Jr., Chino Valley
MF, Alejandro Marquez, Sr., Lakeside Blue Ridge
MF, Alberto Marquez, Jr., Lakeside Blue Ridge
MF, Jake Sarver, So., Phoenix Country Day School
MF, Kendall Foster, Sr., Chino Valley
F, Arturo Gomez, Jr., Chino Valley
F, Carlos Figueroa, Fr., Willcox
F, Jordan Sanchez, Fr., Chino Valley
GK, Morgan Barta, Sr., Flagstaff Northland Prep
D, Wacey Wood, Sr., Snowflake
D, Matt Rosenthal, Sr., Phoenix Country Day School
D, Gage Griffen, Sr., Flagstaff Northland Prep
MF, Ignacio Ybanez, Jr., St. Johns
MF, Walter Soto, Jr., Chino Valley
MF, Decker Freret, So., Phoenix Country Day School
MF, John Taylor, Sr., Flagstaff Northland Prep
F, Rainey Nielsen, Jr., St. Johns
F, Yash Muley, Sr., Phoenix Country Day School
F, Sammy Sanchez, Jr. Academy of Tucson
GK, Nick Tucker, Sr., Tucson Desert Christian
D, Jairo Herrera, So., Chino Valley
D, Luis Navarro, Jr., Lakeside Blue Ridge
D, Austin Hill, So., Tucson Desert Christian
D, Kadin Crosby, Fr., St. Johns
MF, Bryce Palmer, Jr., Snowflake
MF, Gerardo Moceri, Sr., Payson
MF,Melvin Cahueque, Sr., Show Low
F, Ryan Grabosh, Fr., Tucson Desert Christian
F, Leef Brosemann, So., Lakeside Blue Ridge
F, Nat Saldana, Sr., Show Low