This may not have been the way Herculez Gomez saw this offseason playing out, but it does seem fitting. On the same day that the 34-year-old announced his retirement from playing, it was also announced that he would be joining ESPN as a pundit and color commentator.
Gomez’s 15-year professional career saw him start out with humble beginnings, but ended with him having made a World Cup roster, becoming the first American to win a Liga MX Golden Boot and claiming a pair of MLS Cup titles. Although Gomez mostly came off the bench in what turned out to be his final season, he did play in 23 matches — including two in the playoffs — as the Sounders won their first-ever MLS Cup.
“I’d like to thank Herculez not only for being a valuable member of our championship squad last season, but also for his contributions to this game over the past 15 years,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said in a team release. “I’ve known Herc a long time, and I have no doubt he will continue to be a valuable asset to the soccer landscape in this country going forward. On top of that, he’s a unique personality with a great perspective, so I’m excited to watch him on ESPN.”
Gomez spent parts of nine seasons in MLS, scoring 24 goals in that time. But those years were sandwiched around his best seasons in Mexico where he broke onto the scene with a Golden Boot with Puebla in 2010. In parts of six Liga MX seasons, Gomez scored 38 goals. He also scored six goals in 24 caps with the USMNT.
Perhaps even more than his playing, though, Gomez endeared himself to fans with a social media presence that was among the best in professional sports. Gomez was open and honest and proved very comfortable behind a mic or in front of a camera. That he’ll be doing work on the daily ESPN FC highlights and commentary show as well as serving as a studio analyst for MLS and USMNT matches seems only natural.
"We are thrilled to welcome Herc to ESPN after his world-class career and look forward to his fresh, off-the-field insight on MLS, Liga MX, and the US Men's National team for our English-and Spanish-language shows,” said Amy Rosenfeld, ESPN senior coordinating producer. “He is a tremendous addition and represents another strong voice on our soccer content team."