The youngest member of New York City FC has yet to make his MLS debut, but 19-year-old Shannon Gomez is one of the club’s top young prospects, according to head coach Patrick Vieira.
The native of Trinidad & Tobago is, in the words of sporting director Claudio Reyna, “a fast right back that can also play as an offensive winger.”
With NYCFC (1-1-3, 6 points) set to visit the Columbus Crew (0-3-2, 2 points) on Saturday, Gomez spoke with amNewYork about life in the Big Apple.
What did you think of New York City when you first visited?
I always wanted to come because New York City has a big diversity of Caribbean people. I’m really liking the city so far — everybody back home always had a dream to see the Statue of Liberty and Madison Square Garden. So far, I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty to take some pictures, and it’s really nice. I will go to MSG next.
How do you like riding the subway?
I took it once to this year’s home opener at Yankee Stadium — to experience it with my teammate (defender) Jefferson Mena. We got on and arrived in 30 minutes. I didn’t know it was the express train — I learned after the fact that if we got on the other one it would have taken us almost an hour. But I liked it because it was quick and a smooth ride.
What do you love and hate most about the city?
No hates about the city … but the weather is very unpredictable.
I love how lively the city is, and the people here are very welcoming. There are a lot of top-notch restaurants everywhere. It’s definitely not boring, and very easy to enjoy yourself wherever you go.
Favorite restaurant in the city?
Ali’s Trinidad Roti Shop in Brooklyn.
What is your favorite off-the-pitch memory of the city?
When the season started, they lit the Empire State Building blue for NYCFC and just to see that was amazing.
Favorite New York team other than New York City FC?
New York Knicks
What makes New York soccer fans unique?
They are very passionate about New York City FC. They are very loyal and show us love every game — win, lose, or draw.
Do you have any gameday rituals?
I touch the touchline and make the sign of the cross and point to the sky. The meaning is that God is greatest, and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here to do what I love and to have the opportunity to display my talents.
Who was your childhood soccer hero?
Didier Drogba — I admire his leadership and presence on the field. Phillip Lahm — same size as me, very quick, plays all the same positions as me. He is certainly someone I have looked up to as a soccer player. And Dani Alves. He was always my all-time favorite.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I can play cricket. West Indies just won the World Cup!