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"
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
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."