- Age: 18
- Neighborhood: Jackson Heights
- National Origin / Family from: Colombia
“Fútbol for a Colombian is a part of the culture,” says Andrew Goenaga, 18, of Jackson Heights. “The Colombian playing style unique… we always play with our chin up and chest out. Even when losing we don’t give up, and we play the game with honor.”
It’s that style of play and dedication that Andrew brings to his own game, whether playing pickup with friends or trying out recently for his local team, Queensboro FC. Today, on Colombian Independence Day, QBFC celebrates Andrew and all of our Colombian neighbors. Vamos los Cafeteros!
How would you describe Colombia to someone who’s never been there?
Colombia is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people. The nature is breathtaking and the people are super kind and always willing to lend a helping hand. People always say hi and the food is *chef’s kiss*
When did you start playing futbol? Did your family play?
I started playing soccer at around 5 years old with my dad in the park. My dad used to play college soccer in Colombia and although he wanted to pursue the sport, his mother—my grandma—made him focus on his studies. [He went on to become a veterinarian.]
Is your family as passionate as you about the beautiful game? Where did you get your passion for fútbol from?
My family is definitely as passionate about soccer as I am. Whenever Colombia plays [in the World Cup,] and wins, everyone and their mother goes to Northern Boulevard to celebrate. The NYPD has to come and close the streets. They now get the message and bring barricades before the match even starts. Everyone [cheers and] throws maizena (a corn starch) at each other.
What makes Colombian playing style unique?
What makes the Colombian playing style unique is the pride behind it. We always play with our chin up and chest out. Even when losing we don’t give up, and we play the game with honor.
What is your favorite team and why are you a fan of them? Have you seen them play in person?
My favorite team is Junior de Barranquilla, it is the team from my dad’s hometown which I haven’t had the privilege to see in person, however they will be hosting open tryouts next summer which I am really looking forward to participating in.
What makes you most excited about having a team in Queens?
What makes me excited about having a team in queens is to shed light on the talent here that would otherwise go unnoticed. I’ve always said that in Queens alone you could probably build a strong national team for USA.
You’ve been a regular at QBFC’s Free-to-Play Pickup games since they began this Spring. How has your experience been?
My experience at the QBFC pickups have been so fun! The level of play is nice and competitive, and it’s very well organized. It’s one of my favorite things that QBFC has done to grow closer to the community that it represents.
Whats your soccer dream?
My soccer dream is to fulfill my potential. It doesn’t have to be at a big club. It can be a club in my hometown.