Sports

Gomez Sanchez closing in on MLS dreams after combine invite

The Spanish forward is hoping to become the third Temple player ever drafted.

Jorge Gomez Sanchez received a lead pass from his teammate, maneuvered around a defender and launched a left-footed shot that found the upper left corner of the goal.

The senior forward scored Team Chaos’ only goal in its 3-1 loss on the first day of the 2017 MLS Player Combine in Los Angeles.

Even though the men’s soccer season is over, Gomez Sanchez can’t get away from the game. The Owls’ leading striker received an invitation to compete for a spot on a professional soccer team. The athletes were split into four teams that played each other, totaling three games for each team. Scouts and coaches from MLS teams watched and took notes during the games.

“The best part for me has been the first game when I scored a goal,” Gomez Sanchez said. “I played good even though we have lost both games so far. It’s looking good for me so I don’t know what will happen in the next two days, but I’ve been pretty happy with the days I’ve been already here.”

Gomez Sanchez and 73 other college players were selected to participate in the combine with hopes of proving themselves worthy of a selection in the MLS SuperDraft. Gomez Sanchez wasn’t drafted in the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft on Friday. The third and fourth rounds will be held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. via conference call.

If he is drafted, Gomez Sanchez will be the third person from Temple to be drafted during the MLS era. Midfielder Tony Donatelli was the last Temple player drafted when he was selected in the supplemental draft in 2006.

“All the players are nervous because you don’t know the future,” Gomez Sanchez said. “Being in the combine doesn’t mean you have to be drafted.”

Gomez Sanchez felt his goal during the combine made a good initial impression with the scouts. He wanted to project that he would be a reliable goal scorer at the professional level.

“I think the biggest advantage will be that I am a goal scorer,” Gomez Sanchez said. “If you can have the numbers, if you have guys that can score goals, then it gives you an advantage.”

If scouts aren’t convinced of Gomez Sanchez’s scoring prowess after his combine performance, his stats while playing as an Owl will help. The forward finished his two years at Temple with 27 goals, which ties him for fifth in Temple’s all-time records.

In 2016, Gomez Sanchez accounted for more than half of Temple’s points with 31 points. Gomez Sanchez was also among the Division I leaders in goals and goals per game throughout the season, finishing tied for seventh in goals.

“I think I can compete there and I think I’m on a good level,” Gomez Sanchez said. “I can compete with all them and I feel good. I’m happy with the opportunity to turn this into a pro career.”

Once Gomez Sanchez made it back to his hometown of Talavera De La Reina, Spain after the semester ended, he trained with his brother, Guillermo. The two often ran together.

Having the opportunity to be drafted in the United States means Gomez Sanchez would have to leave his home country behind, but he’s willing to do it.

“I have my family, I have a girlfriend there, it’s really hard for me to leave them there,” Gomez Sanchez said. “But I might have the opportunity to bring some of my family here, so I don’t lose much, and I think it’s a great opportunity.”

If Temple sends Gomez Sanchez to the MLS, it could potentially help its soccer program, especially from a recruiting standpoint.

“When kids are coming out of high school, they look for a place with good players and it would be a great thing for Temple having a guy who can play professionally,” Gomez Sanchez said.

Gomez Sanchez hopes to stay involved with Temple soccer and wants to remain on the East Coast if possible, so he is a little closer to Spain. But when it comes down to it, he won’t be too picky.

“I don’t know which team will choose me,” Gomez Sanchez said. “But I will take it.”

Maura Razanauskas can be reached at maura.razanauskas@temple.edu or on Twitter @CaptainAMAURAca.

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