Gem Gonzalez gunning for greatness

 

Goalscoring comes easy to Alison Gonzalez, as her recent stats show. Since the last Liga MX Femenil championship, the Atlas forward has been averaging a goal a game and now has 58 league goals to her name.

The coolest of finishers, Gonzalez never loses her focus, even when she goes long periods without touching the ball. When it finally comes her way, she has a knack for leaving defenders trailing with her pace and finding the back of the net. Lethal in the air and from distance, she also has the skill to take opponents on. Still only 19, she has had to make a few sacrifices to get where she is today.

“It was tough but I had a very nice life at home with my family and didn’t want for anything,” she told FIFA.com. “My dream was to make it in football, though.

“Moving to Monterrey, where I made my debut for Tigres, and starting from scratch was really tough. I didn’t know anyone. You miss your family, friends and everything around you.”

Her growing maturity has been key to her breaking through at such a young age: “I didn’t picture it this way. Achieving my dreams when I’m still so young hasn’t come easy, but it tells me that I’m on the right path.”

International recognition has already come her way, with Gonzalez picking up an award when Goal ranked her third in its NXGN 2021 list of the ten best wonderkids in women’s football.

“It’s one of those things where you can’t quite find the words to describe it,” she said. “I couldn’t get my head around it. It didn’t sink in. I was so surprised when I saw it and they gave me the award. There are some things I’m achieving that are hard for me to comprehend.”

Eyes on the future

Gonzalez’s short-term goals are focused on the Mexican league and winning trophies for a team with a very loyal fanbase but little in the way of recent success.

“I’m very proud and aware of my responsibilities,” said the Atlas striker. “We’re on the right track and we want to make the fans happy. I’m determined to keep improving day after day and to keep showing the passion that Atlas are known for.”

Looking further ahead, she added: “I’ve always dreamed of playing in Europe. It’s been one of my goals ever since I was young, but I’ve still got a lot of learning and growing to do before I can make it happen.”

Another of her long-term aims is to star with Mexico and help them reach the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia New Zealand 2023™. In moving up to the full national team, Gonzalez has been reunited with Monica Vergara, who was her coach when Mexico finished runners-up at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018.

“I’ve always said it and I’ll keep on saying it: Monica Vergara is an amazing person and you can feel that when you’re out on the pitch,” Gonzalez said. “She makes you feel part of the family and that’s the atmosphere that she wants to create in the national team. There will be good times and bad, but we’ll always keep looking forward.”

In the immediate future come meetings with Slovakia on Saturday and Spain next Tuesday, two games in which Gonzalez will hope to get some game time and continue her learning curve.

“I’m very happy with the way things are going,” she said. “I’m excited to be involved in the senior national team but I’m taking things step by step. I don’t feel under pressure. I’m happy to be sharing the pitch with the best players in Mexico and learning from all the experience they have to offer.”

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