Gering’s Criztian Avalos couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to continue playing soccer at the collegiate level after inking Friday with Western Nebraska Community College.
“It started when I was little and my dad had a really big impact and took me to his games. He really taught me how to play and I grew up and developed into the person I am,” Avalos said. “I couldn’t have done it without my team that I have been playing with my whole entire life. The support was a really big thing. I had a lot of support with all my teachers, my family, and friends as well. It really impacted me. That made me become a Cougar.”
His time at Gering saw him play soccer and run cross country. He especially grew as a person and athlete this past year with plenty of support.
“Throughout this year, my mindset had changed a lot just with my work ethic,” he said. “It all started with all my teachers; they helped me through a lot. They had a really big impact in my life getting to where I am now. I couldn’t have done it without their inspiring words and their wisdom. It really changed my mind in going to college, picking the right college, and gave me the opportunity. I am not here to take the opportunity, I am going to fill it to my best and make a dream come true for me.”
On the soccer pitch, Avalos said that he mainly played forward with some goalkeeping during his younger years. The one thing he learned, however, is you can’t settle into just one position, you need to just occupy it and be flexible.
“I used to play goalkeeper for about six years and then I changed my position on the field,” he said. “I have an understanding of both positions, but on the field I really believe I belong out there because I just help my team. My main position I played for indoor was a forward and outdoor I was a forward as well. Wherever he tells me to play is where I will play. My old coach used to say, ‘You don’t want a position, you just simply want to occupy it.’
Avalos’ soccer talents are intense and he kept bettering his game each year.
“I have been training my whole life. I have been training to my best ability,” he said. “Now, I am taking it a step further and training even harder. It will now really come into play. All the skills I developed, the technique, the understanding of the sport, understanding of how to play and play against other players to keep myself safe, and to keep my team going because there is leadership in this role and I am going to try to fulfil this and help my team out.”
In his years on the Gering soccer team, Avalos scored five goals his freshman and sophomore year. He played in 11 games as a sophomore with four goals and two assists. The four goals came in one game when Gering beat Grand Island Central Catholic 8-1.
Avalos, who hopes to continue playing at the four-year level after WNCC, is planning on a major in welding while taking classes in agriculture business.
“This is a really big opportunity here that will open up a lot of doors,” he said. “It is going to chance my life the way I want it to be for my future.”
Avalos is appreciative of the opportunity to play college soccer and wanted to thank everyone that helped him make the dream come true.
“Thank you to the opportunity given to me. I can’t thank you guys enough,” he said. “It really is a blessing and I appreciate everything that everybody has done for me. I am going to make the best of it.”