GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Hérculez Gómez’s arrival at Estudiantes Tecos feels like the completion of a circle for the World Cup veteran, and he is already looking forward to the new season.
“I've only been here a few days, but the city is beautiful,” Gómez told MLSsoccer.com over the phone on Friday. “I didn’t know that much about the team, but I’ve been impressed so far; it’s exciting.”
The swap deal came about when relegation-threatened Estudiantes’ one “untransferable” player, Mauro Cejas, was approached by Pachuca. Gómez had already had a highly successful spell under Tecos coach José Luis Sánchez Solá, aka “Chelís,” at Puebla. The exchange deal, which also saw veteran midfielder Braulio Luna go from los Tuzos to Tecos, became an acceptable one for both parties.
“I learned a lot at Pachuca,” said the 29-year-old, who also heaped praise on his former club's facilities. "I’m grateful for my time there."
Now in Guadalajara, Gómez has set new goals for his first season with the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara team.
“I'm not an individual type of guy, I put the team first,” said the MLS-raised forward. “The first goal is to try and help get the team away from danger.”
Estudiantes become Gómez’s third team in Mexico. The Los Angeles native will be hoping to capture the form that saw him top the scoring charts during his short stint with Puebla, where he scored 10 goals in 15 appearances during the Bicentenario 2010 season and earned a place in the US national team squad in South Africa last summer.
Away from the pitch, Gómez already feels more than at home in Guadalajara. Both his mother and father are from towns in the state of Jalisco and "there is a lot of family around,” he says.
Gómez joins fellow Americans Sammy Ochoa and Daniel Antúnez at the Guadalajara club with one Mexican league title to its name.