In Spain, soccer is like religion, and because of that, it is normal or even ideal to have a son who is endlessly passionate and faithful to the sport for some Spaniards.
But for Titans forward Samuel Goñi’s parents it was just the opposite. They valued academics far more than athletics.
Born and raised in Marcilla, Spain with a father who is an architect, a sister who’s an engineer and a mother who owns a furniture business, Goñi was left begrudgingly focused on academia, even though his real loyalty was to the field.
However, without parents to teach him the ways of soccer, Goñi let the rich Spanish culture do it for him.
“At three years old we started playing with friends in the schoolyard,” Goñi said. “Like all my friends, and everyone in Spain, soccer is like a religion. All you have to do is play, play, play.”
Coming from a family who didn’t have any real soccer-lovers, Goñi was forced to make significant sacrifices to follow his dream, including improvising goal posts in his longtime friend Hector Cambra’s backyard.
Cambra and Goñi were not only born to parents who were already friends, but their independent love of soccer became a staple of their relationship.
“From a young age, the first thing everyone wants is a ball to play football, ” Cambra said. “We would go alone with the ball to go play where we could. We would run away from home to go play.”
Although Goñi’s parents didn’t enjoy soccer to the extent that the rest of the country did, that didn’t stop them from supporting their son.
They would still go to his games, and Goñi would often try and get his father to find the same passion for soccer.
“My father would come with me to the park every weekend. …