Our Community - Raul Gonzalez - "Achieving 'goals' in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 7            February 21, 2002

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Raul Gonzalez

A wave of fitness has overcome many residents of San Pedro lately. Exercising and engaging in sports are some choices that people are taking to build healthy bodies and healthy minds. This week we are pleased to introduce one of San Pedro's most recognized athletes who has become a role model for many - Raul "Coco" Gonzalez. 

    On September 7th, 1964 Soila and Florentino Gonzalez celebrated the birth of their second youngest son Raul. Raul grew up surrounded by a close-knit family consisting of four sisters and three brothers. Life by the sea and living in a carefree environment were major factors that made Raul the friendly and charismatic person he grew up to be. He attended San Pedro Roman Catholic School and San Pedro High School, graduating in 1982. While in school, Raul developed an interest in plumbing and electrical work and set out to learn these trades. Under the able guidance of Tom Harding, Raul soon became a "pro" when it came to electrical and plumbing work. His reliability and professionalism at work soon gained him several loyal clients who remain his customers to this date.

    Although Raul Gonzalez is known in San Pedro through his profession, he is also recognized as one of the island's leading soccer players. Raul began playing soccer when he was still in elementary school. He was a natural when it came to manipulating the ball and making coordinated passes to the rest of the team. Of course, his talent did not go unnoticed and the San Pedro Football Club (SPFC) soon recruited him. Playing as a midfielder, Raul "Coco" Gonzalez was an asset to the team. Raul was so fast on the field that he was soon given the nickname "El Fantasma" (ghost) since he rapidly appeared at the right place at the right time, seemingly out of nowhere, leading his team to many victories. Word of Coco's excellent soccer abilities spread to team owners throughout the country and the First Division Football League. Three years ago, Coco was given the opportunity to join the Acros Football Club and to play in the Concacaf Championships (Central American Soccer Championships). For an entire football season Raul, the only San Pedrano to ever play in the Concacaf Championships, played in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras. In addition to this, Raul, with the assistance of SPFC trainer Palmiro Salas, formed a children's football school on the island. 

    Because of his great passion for the game and his exemplary discipline, Raul was unanimously voted the Captain of the San Pedro Football Club, a position he has held since he can remember. Coco has also been an avid five-a-side player and has been awarded with medals and trophies for Most Valuable Player and Most Goals Scored.

    Due to a recent surgery, "Coco" Gonzalez has retired as a semi-pro player. Nevertheless, he plans to join the San Pedro Veterans team (players 35 years and older). Seeing his great interest in sports, in 1994 the San Pedro Town Council made Mr. Gonzalez Chairman of the San Pedro Sports Council.

    At age thirty-seven, Raul "Coco" Gonzalez is the father of two children: Eni (11) and Raul (10), the result of his happy marriage to Enaida Guerrero. Juggling work and sports, Raul is now hoping to venture into yet another enterprise, that of being an independent contractor. He says that in this day and age one has to be prepared to work hard, especially if they have children. All the work he is doing, he says, will be invested it in his children's education. Speaking about recreational opportunities for children Mr. Gonzalez stated, "This town certainly needs more sporting facilities for the children and youth. I believe that this should be a priority of the town leaders so that our children have more healthy choices to make."

    We can compare Raul to world-renown soccer players like Ronaldo, Pele and Maradona, for Raul "Coco" or "El Fantasma" Gonzalez has become a "soccer legend" in "Our Community."

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