Archie Gonzalez has a special distinction this soccer season. He is the only freshman on the roster of the Fort Lupton High School varsity team.
“Here, the ball moves quick and all that. You have to make quick choices,” Gonzalez said after his team shut out Bennett 3-0 on Sept. 7. “You have to make sure you have great runs and make great choices. You have to have a great mindset.”
At first, that was difficult, but he’s coming around, he said.
“I had a bad mindset,” Gonzalez said. “My coach (Kyle Reddy) is always talking to me. My mindset has changed. Now, I’m getting better chances to score, better touches. I am more comfortable.
“If I’m all mad at myself, then I’m not going to play great,” Gonzalez added. “If I have fun, I’ll play better. I have had better touches. I’ve had better playing style with all the people I play with, better chemistry.”
The Bluedevils won three and tied two of their first six matches. Reddy was pleased with the record, to a point.
“I see the potential these boys have. But we haven’t lived up to it yet,” he said. “Our biggest adversary is ourselves. We’re getting in our heads every single game. And once we get in our heads and the refs get in our heads, that’s when we let down. This team has tremendous talent. They need to believe in the process in me and themselves.”
Reddy said undoing the mental block is a matter of mentoring.
“I know what it takes to be a state champion (Reddy was on Broomfield’s state title-winning team in 2007). I’ve also lost in the state championship game,” he said. “I’ve seen the best. I’ve seen the worst. You have to take it with a grain of salt and be humbled. You have to keep moving forward.”
Through those six contests, Gonzalez was looking for his first varsity-level points. Gonzalez has been playing soccer since he was 3. It may explain why there’s no sense of intimidation.
“It’s really nice. It’s pretty fun, actually,” Gonzalez said. “We mess around. But whenever we’re in the game, they play well, and that makes my mind happy. It makes me smile.”
Keep up with Fort Lupton’s season at this link.