Gómez with Santos Laguna in 2012
|Full name||Hérculez Gómez Hurtado|
|Date of birth||April 6, 1982|
|Place of birth||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|2002||San Diego Gauchos||17||(17)|
|2003||→ Seattle Sounders (loan)||17||(1)|
|2004||→ San Diego Sockers (loan)||10||(5)|
|2008–2009||Kansas City Wizards||34||(1)|
|2014||→ UANL (loan)||15||(1)|
|2015||→ Puebla (loan)||13||(1)|
|2016||Seattle Sounders FC||21||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Hérculez Gómez Hurtado (born April 6, 1982) is an American former professional soccer player who played as a forward. He currently works as a commentator in both English and Spanish for ESPN.
Gómez, the oldest of five children, was born in Oxnard, California to Mexican-American parents. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and played on the soccer team at Las Vegas High School.
Gómez started his career in 2001 with Cruz Azul of the México Primera División on their second-division squad, and transferred to second-division team Aguilas Blancas de Puebla later that year. The following season, he returned to the Primera División with Durango. However, playing opportunities were scarce for him there. The Los Angeles Galaxy staff noticed him during a friendly match and he joined the team in September.
Gómez broke his foot while on loan to the Seattle Sounders of the United Soccer Leagues, and recovery took a long time. When he was able to play again, he joined the San Diego Sockers of the Major Indoor Soccer League. He returned to the Galaxy for the 2005 season on a developmental contract, but played well enough to make it to the first team. His big chance came when Landon Donovan was called up to the national team. Donovan's absence gave Gómez many more starts at striker, and he was able to shine as a breakout goal-scorer.
He scored the game-winning goal in the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, then helped the Galaxy to a rare Cup 'double' when they also won the 2005 MLS Cup. Gómez ended the 2005 season with eighteen goals scored for the Galaxy (in all matches), and was voted by the local L.A. media as the year's Most Valuable Player.
Early in the 2006 season, Gomez was moved to the bench with then-coach Steve Sampson. Sampson used Gomez as a midfielder to see if he could score goals running at defenses. After Sampson's firing, however, Gomez scored several times under new coach Frank Yallop, and ended that season with five goals.
In December 2006, Gomez was traded to the Colorado Rapids along with Ugo Ihemelu in exchange for Joe Cannon. He scored the first goal in the history of Dick's Sporting Goods Park in his first game for Colorado, a 2-1 win over D.C. United on April 7, 2007. Gómez tore his ACL during training with the Rapids in September of that year and was forced to undergo a lengthy recovery process.
Gómez was traded to Kansas City Wizards in exchange for allocation money, a fourth round 2009 MLS SuperDraft pick and a first round 2009 MLS Supplemental Draft pick in September 2008. His only goal for the Wizards was an injury time winner against San Jose Earthquakes, a must win game in their 2008 play-offs push.
After being released by Kansas City in late 2009, Gómez experienced a career revival after signing with Mexican club Puebla F.C. in January 2010. He scored ten goals in the 2010 Mexican season to tie for the lead for most goals; this feat marked the first time any American player led a foreign league in goals. He moved to Pachuca in the summer 2010 window.
Pachuca placed Gómez, along with its entire squad, on the transfer list. During the transfer window he moved along with teammate Braulio Luna to Estudiantes Tecos. Gómez scored his first goal for his new club in the second game of the Mexico Apertura season, coming in a 2-1 loss to San Luis. On August 19, Gómez scored the winner as a sub against his former club Pachuca.
Cash-strapped Estudiantes Tecos were forced into selling Gómez to league rivals Santos Laguna in December 2011. Gómez scored 11 goals in his first 12 appearances for the team across all competitions.
With Santos Laguna's 2012 Clausura victory, Gomez became the first player to have won both the MLS Cup and the Primera División championship. In 2013, he moved to Xolos de Tijuana. After struggling with Tijuana, he was loaned to Tigres UANL for the 2014–15 season. However, he ended the season poorly with only one goal. His loan was not extended.
In August 2015, Gomez joined Toronto FC.
After his release from Toronto at the beginning of the 2016 MLS season, Gomez joined Seattle Sounders FC. He won MLS Cup for the second time in his career. He retired following the season and joined ESPN as an analyst.
Gomez was named to the United States roster for the 2007 Copa America and earned his first cap as a second-half substitute against Argentina, with his first start coming against Colombia.
After a lengthy absence from the national team, Gomez was named to the provisional 30-man U.S. squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after a highly productive club season in Mexico. He scored a goal for the U.S. national team in a 4–2 friendly defeat to the Czech Republic on May 25; the next day he was named to the final 23-man squad. Gomez played in 3 out of the 4 games for the United States at the World Cup, including the round of 16 game against Ghana.
Gomez made his return to the national team in 2012, appearing in friendlies against Scotland and Brazil and scoring a goal against the latter. Later in 2012, he scored goals in World Cup qualifying against Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica
His last national team appearance came during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
|01.||May 25, 2010||Rentschler Field, East Hartford, United States||Czech Republic||2–2||2–4||Friendly|
|02.||June 5, 2010||Ruimsig Stadium, Roodepoort, South Africa||Australia||3–1||3–1|
|03.||May 30, 2012||FedExField, Landover, United States||Brazil||1–2||1–4|
|04.||June 8, 2012||Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, United States||Antigua and Barbuda||3–1||3–1||2014 World Cup qualification|
|05.||September 11, 2012||Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, United States||Jamaica||1–0||1–0|
|06.||July 5, 2013||Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, United States||Guatemala||1–0||6–0||Friendly|
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|2003||Los Angeles Galaxy||Major League Soccer||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|2005||Los Angeles Galaxy||Major League Soccer||22||11||4||6||4||1||0||0||30||18|
|2008||Kansas City Wizards||8||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||9||1|
|2015||Toronto FC||Major League Soccer||7||1||0||0||2||0||–||8||1|
|2016||Seattle Sounders FC||Major League Soccer||21||0||3||1||1||0||–||25||1|
In January 2017, Gomez announced his retirement from professional soccer, and joined the broadcasting team at ESPN. He typically appears as a studio analyst / pundit for ESPN FC, MLS games, and US National Team games. Also, he is the co-host of several podcasts, most notably the Max and Herc podcast with Max Bretos, where they discuss news around Major League Soccer and the United States national soccer team, and the Two on Tri podcast with Sebastian Salazar, where they discuss the Liga MX, the Mexico national soccer team, and Mexican players abroad.
He and Salazar also host "Fútbol Americas" on ESPN+.
Herculez is the brother of MMA fighter Ulysses Gomez. He is of Mexican-American heritage.
Los Angeles Galaxy