The culmination of a lifelong dream: to be a footballer
He started playing football when he was 5 years old. He dreamed of becoming a professional footballer someday. At age 13 he entered the youth academy of Nàstic de Tarragona, but when he was 16 years old the first of several knee injuries arrived. “It was a cartilage problem, an injury that doesn’t have any treatment, but it wasn’t a handicap for me. I started rehabilitation on the beach because I still had in mind to be a professional football player.”
And on the beach, as could not be otherwise, an unexpected and meteoric career started: he went from playing Torredembarra’s, his hometown, Beach Soccer Tournament to the Spanish Championship, and from the Catalan national team to the Spanish national team and around the globe.
“I couldn’t imagine that a recovery plan would generate what it has generated, basically because I considered beach soccer a hobby, not even as a sport”.
Reward to effort and perseverance
When I opted for beach soccer, he knew what he had to do “I started to train all year long and offers started to arrive, the first one was from Dubai. To me it was amazing to receive offers from any part of the world. I realised that it was lifestyle”.
And 8 seasons later, the reward arrived: being elected the World’s Best Beach Soccer Player at a ceremony held, interestingly, in Dubai.
“When I started with 19 years old, I set myself some goals and one of them was to receive the award and to be on that stage. But when the time came, I felt that those 8 years were reduced in the palm of my hand and I thought: that’s it? I cried desperately; I took out all those 8 years of work devoted to someday be recognized. But not to people but for myself. Because I set myself the objective and thanks to everyone who has backed me up and my effort, we have achieved it. It was impressive, impressive”.
The Spanish beach soccer in Europe and in the world
The Spanish National team is currently in the 5th position of the European ranking and the 10th in the world ranking, where Russia, Italy, Brazil and Iran have set themselves as great world powers among the 114 countries that are taking part in the Beach Soccer World Ranking. Is Spain doing well?
“I would say that the Spanish National Team is in its way to achieve something really important. Because we have lots of young players that are at the under-21, who are on their way, are talented but don’t have the experience. And I, now that I am 27, understand the importance of experience. Before I didn’t understand.”
And he adds: “I would say that the level we have is not reflected in the position of the ranking we are at. I sincerely believe so. I am sure that, with work and more preparation time, it will change a lot and that little by little we will go up in the ranking.”
Countries without beaches or a beach culture, beach soccer leaders?
It seems reasonable to assume that, beach culture countries, like Brazil, should be this sport’s leaders. However, you only need to look at the world ranking to get surprised: Russia, Iran, Switzerland and Paraguay are at the top-ten.
“The answer is simple: it is all about betting. When you bet on something, you only need to be talented and devote time to it. And they do it. For example, in Russia they have one of the best leagues in the world, they play in winter and in summer. In winter they play in covered pavilions an in summer, they play in the uncovered ones. And in Iran, the league lasts 6 months, unlike other places where it only lasts a month.”
Manual to be successful
Llorenç Gómez’s story is one of those stories that appear unlikely to be real, a kid from Torredembarra who dreamed of becoming a footballer, just like millions of youngsters, got side-tracked by an injury. But instead of getting frustrated, he kept fighting and destiny rewarded him with a new passion and lifestyle.
“I think that when someone wants to do something in his life, whatever it may be, if he is talented, the only thing he has to do is to devote his time, and sooner or later, it will arrive. I knew that in this sport I have some abilities, that I haven’t chosen, it’s just that life has given me, and, with hard work, the time would come. I am a person that when I want something, until I don’t have it, I don’t stop…. I knew that one day I would be on that stage and that I would be given the award. Mind you, I also knew what it entitled: the time dedicated to it, the effort, what I had to stop doing and where I had to focus my attention.”
His attitude is, without a doubt, the key to his success. Llorenç Gómez knows how important it is to face life with a smile. We need only check his social media profiles to get an overall picture.
“I am always joking around, trying to get a smile out of everyone I see that doesn’t smile because I think that it is very important and a key factor for the group’s success. If you have a positive energy, you will feel comfortable and will go to the street happy. However, if it is negative, not. With the team is the same, if you are training and there are laughs and happiness, which it doesn’t mean that there isn’t intensity, the group will succeed. At a game, if the energy is positive or negative, there is a difference.”
From Mediterranean Sport Village we predict a bright future as a coach for him once he retires from competition. And we are confident that he will do it as well as he does acrobatic scissor kicks on the sand.
Good luck Llorenç!
Fotos: Beach Soccer