Gil Mangual: A Life In Soccer

Daniela Araujo, Writer

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Starting at the young age of 6 years old, Gil Mangual developed a love and passion for soccer. Making it to the big leagues and playing for the Orlando City Soccer team, he was building his skills and playing with the top dogs. Just this past year Mangual quit playing for Orlando City Soccer, due to the inconveniences it posed. Now, switching things up Mangual plays for the school’s soccer team.

Mangual’s decision to leave the Orlando City team was based on the fact that traveling got to be too much. Getting from school to practice consisted of a fair amount of time spent in the car. Taking a year off, he hoped to take a break. Returning a year later, however, created other problems. A change in his coach and team changed his thoughts about playing again.

“I stopped playing because it was like an hour and a half long just to get to practice, it became to be too much. I left for a year and then came back and when I played for another coach, I didn’t feel comfortable, I didn’t feel the same environment as the last team,” said Mangual.

Leaving the Orlando City team puts a pause on Mangual’s soccer career, leaving the professional teams for a small school’s team as the goal keeper. Although leaving one team for another put his career on hold, he gets to take a break and play with people he is close to.

“I do feel like playing here is a setback going from one of the best leagues there are, to playing for a small school’s soccer team it’s a big setback, but I like playing for this team. ” I play with my friends and with people I see every day, here I play for fun and with family, with Orlando City I played with just teammates and just to play,” said goal keeper Mangual.

Though the environments of the two teams are different, Mangual feels the same level of challenge still exists.

“I feel like playing here is the same type of challenge as playing for Orlando City but, here its teaching each other how to become better since they are all on different levels, but playing for Orlando City it was to improve on skills and learn how to build the teams chemistry,” said senior Mangual.

On a new team, Mangual is able to take his past soccer experience and help others on the team. He uses his skill as an opportunity to teach others and become a mentor, as the head coach has encouraged him to do this.

“Playing here I don’t feel like I am the best because I played for a professional team, but I feel like it is cool that I can take my experience and teach others to become better,” said Mangual.

While taking a break on soccer Mangual has tried two additional sports. During the fall he played for the football team and made it as the kicker. As the season went on, he was then made a running back for the team.

Currently, Mangual is the starting goal keeper of the boys’ varsity soccer team. For the friends and family who attend the games to watch him play with his team he wears number 17. On top of being the goal keeper for the school’s soccer team, he is also a cheerleader for the competition cheer team.

“It’s been fun, they are obviously totally different sports but once I got my mind to it and trained hard, I got used to it,” said Mangual