Junior, rebounding from injury, looks to be a leader for CSUF men’s soccer – Orange County Register

By Ryan Posner
Contributing writer

Most soccer players would agree that goal-scoring can be a rhythmic process.
For Cal State Fullerton redshirt junior Samuel Goni, the rhythm was understandably shaken heading into the second game of the season on Aug. 27. A torn anterior cruciate ligament cost Goni the entirety of his first season with the Titans.

CSUF mens soccer player Samuel Goni, during a CSUF game on Sept. 1 in Fullerton. (Photo by Greg Andersen, Contributing Photographer)

But Goni began to find the flow again by scoring off a corner kick in the Titans’ 1-0 double-overtime win over Wofford, the team’s first victory of the year.

“I have to get used to playing again and everything that comes with it,” Goni said. “That goal was big because it started to build that confidence.”

Goni wasn’t short for confidence while playing at Bethel University — an NAIA program in McKenzie, Tenn. — where he collected 26 goals and 12 assists in two seasons. He was named the Southern State Athletics Conference MVP his sophomore season.

“People knew of him, they knew he was a high-caliber player,” said Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer coach George Kuntz. “He was out-playing everybody out there. It wasn’t like he was a secret.”

With an array of competition to land his services, Goni, a 5-foot-9, speedy, tactical forward, eventually decided on the Titans.

“I always wanted to live in California,” said Goni, a native of Navarra, Spain. “I also like the way that we play. We try to pass the ball and actually create an offense while some schools just love to run, run, run.”

Where Goni grew up, like most places in Spain, soccer was king. While his family didn’t play, every break during school was consumed with the sport. Going pro has always been in the back of his mind.

Cal State Fullerton’s Samuel Goni, left, battles with Cal Berkeley’s Ugo Rebecchini in a soccer match at Titan Stadium in Fullerton on Aug. 14. (Photo by Sam Gangwer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“A lot of players from other countries have to sometimes start out at smaller schools because of credits transferring over and things like that,” Kuntz said. “Sometimes those guys want more. They want the big show, the big environment.”

Goni was gearing for the big show while training in Fullerton as the team traveled to Vermont for last year’s season-opener. The Titans’ leading scorer in the preseason, Goni couldn’t play while NCAA paperwork was being…

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