Freshman soccer player remembered after fatal car crash

Ofelya Martirosyan

When 19-year-old, freshman math major Xavier E. Gomez, tried out for a defense position on CSUN’s Soccer Club he did not make the cut, still he continued to show up for practice.

His dedication and determination eventually paid off, said Soccer Club President Carlos Hernandez.

‘Later in the soccer season all of our goalies flaked for a reason or another and since Xavier was around all the time, I informed him about it,’ Hernandez said.
Gomez told him that he had never played goalie but he would do it to be a part of the team.

On Jan. 3 the goalie and Kappa Sigma Fraternity pledge died in a car accident in the early morning in Porter Ranch. The exact circumstances of the accident are still under investigation.

‘He stood out among approximately 30 people in the club because of his very enthusiastic and talkative personality,’ Hernandez said. ‘He played a good season.’

The last time Hernandez saw Gomez was at the team’s first practice, a day before he died.’

‘(Xavier) said he was excited to start on Spring League. He left that day with the usual smile on his face,’ Hernandez said. ‘I think that’s the way I’ll always remember him.’
Caring, determined and happy is how his sister Tatiana Gomez remembers her brother.

‘He was always joking around, making people laugh,’ she said.
Gomez was very involved at school and in his community, said Tatiana.

‘He wanted to try new things everyday and if he wanted something, he would try his hardest to get it,’ Tatiana said.

Gomez was the first from his family to attend college. Tatiana will soon follow in his footsteps.

He was a math major, but he also loved music. In his senior year at Gardena High School, he taught himself how to play the guitar and wrote songs.

He was fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language and had a strong sense of humor as well as a knack for making people laugh.

Frankie Salazar, his friend since middle school, remembered Gomez going to Sacramento to perform one of his songs.

He was nicknamed Flash, due to him being a fast runner and his friends described him as charming, motivated and hard headed, but in a good way.

Last summer, he was one of about 50 selected high school students from across California to be a part of Youth Leadership Forum, a guidance program for high school students with disabilities. Gomez was hard of hearing.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, he was actively involved in his school and community, Tatiana said.

While in high school, he worked at a local Internet caf’eacute; in South Central and in his senior year, at a local Albertsons. Though he had a busy schedule, he also made time to volunteer.

One summer, he volunteered at Carson Hospital. Another time, along with his sister, they volunteered with L.A. Bridge, a community gang prevention program, to clean neighborhood streets.

‘Xavier was not only wonderful to get to know, but he stood out,’ said his YLF Counselor Gina Semenza. ‘He was intellectually curious, emotionally mature in ways I don’t often see among many youth.’

Apart from being considerate of others he was incredibly articulate, creative and quick thinking, Semenza said.

Semenza recommended him to represent the YLF program to the media and said she was not surprised when Xavier did a wonderful job with an interview for a Spanish-speaking morning program.

‘Xavier’s life was cut too short.’ He was both incredibly talented and kind, a combination not easily found,’ she said.’

A high school friend, who like Gomez, was hearing impaired, recalled that Xavier would project his positive attitude on the people around him, bringing out the best in them.

‘He was always there whenever his friends needed him,’ said Alma Altamirano. ‘He was such a wonderful guy and we learned a lot from him. We thank him for having been there for us.’

In Altamirano’s opinion Gomez taught her two important life lessons, the ability to forgive and be more social. Before she had met him, Altamirano was extremely shy but through their friendship she became more extroverted.

Gomez is survived by his nearly two-year-old daughter, Daira Patrica Gomez, who Tatiana says looks a lot like him.

‘She’s really smart for her age too,’ she said.

His also survived by his parents Claudia Marquez, Jose Gomez, his brother Alexis Marquez and his sister Tatiana Gomez.’

‘It was very hard for my parents, but seeing all the support has made it a little easier,’ said Tatiana.

The family would like to thank Kappa Sigma and everyone who has donated and been supportive throughout their ordeal.
To make donations, email claudiamarquez@netzero.net’