In one chaotic sequence, dismay turned into euphoria.
A missed opportunity ended up being one of a lifetime.
The moment of the year in the state’s soccer scene belongs to Gustavo “Goose” Gutierrez, whose rebound-goal off a denied penalty kick went from gut-check to glory as he lifted Broomfield to a 1-0 win over Regis Jesuit in the Class 5A finals.
The BoCoPreps.com player of the year honors are his, too.
From an agonizing PK attempt that was kick saved by Raiders goalie Trey Tomlin, only to be put back in one swinging, heroic blast — to being named the 5A player of the year by CHSAANow.com following a disappointing junior campaign — Gutierrez said he’s still processing it.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” he said. “My parents are extremely proud and during these last three or four weeks my phone has been blowing up from friends that I’ve known for a long time saying congrats, and stuff like that. It feels pretty amazing.”
As part of his awards tour since the goal that sent Dick’s Sporting Goods Park into a befuddled frenzy last month, Gutierrez was named co-player of the year in the Front Range League alongside Legacy standout Blake Hansen. Then on Thanksgiving, he said Eagles coach Jim Davidson called him and informed him he’d been selected as an All-American by the United Soccer Coaches.
“It’s kind of unreal to me,” Gutierrez said. “But it happened.”
Goose, admittedly slight of frame standing 5-foot-6 — maybe 5-7 — was coming off a year where he’d registered only two goals and two assists, per MaxPreps. If the Eagles wanted to make a deep run, he knew he needed to contribute more. His mindset had to change.
Remembering a bit of advice from his father helped.
“My dad would always tell me you’re not a big kid, so something you should work on is keeping the ball close to your feet and then making your own space,” Gutierrez said. “That’s why when you get through defenders, they’re most likely going to have to take you down or let you go.”
His crafty footwork drew a penalty in the box in 51st minute of the state title game. His winner came moments later. Gutierrez and Davidson, among others, said they have gone back to watch the replay of it.
“I’m glad that it was Goose that was the guy that got the goal in the final,” Davidson said. “He was the guy that put us on his back all season. It was really rewarding to see your best player have that moment and win the match for you in the state championship.”
Before that defining moment, there were plenty of others. When asked about the transcendence of his star player, Davidson pointed to another. Late September, overtime, and the 6-1 Eagles were on the road at Fort Collins.
Gutierrez’s game-winner unfolded quickly, he said.
Already off to a hot start to the year with seven goals and six assists in seven games, Goose took a throw-in from around midfield. Then, as Davidson described it, what happened next was his Goose beat one defender after another. Gutierrez said he had to get by the entire backline.
“Ultimately, he walked into the goal with a beautiful finish,” Davidson said. “It was just a moment of brilliance. I thought, ‘Man this kid is for real. He’s the next big thing in our program’.”
Gutierrez finished the year with 16 goals and 14 assists.