The Immokalee Seminoles Football Club is scheduled to play semi-professional National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) team Naples United on Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Immokalee Sports Complex.
Seminoles owner and founder Carlos Gomez plans to make his football club a professional team by 2019.
“What made me want to start this team is because there’s a lot of talented soccer players out there who deserve to be in college or to have already signed a pro contract and they haven’t yet,” explained Gomez.
Immokahlee’s high school soccer team, the Indians, have made it into multiple state championships over the past decade.
The NPSL was founded in 2003 and has managed to always place at least one team into the U.S. Open Cup competition, which is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States.
Gomez, who is 24, says he plans to have the Seminoles either join the NPSL or the United Soccer League (USL), which functions partly as a reserve league for Major League Soccer (MLS). The Seminoles players range in ages from 17 to 27.
“One strength of our team is that we have been playing together for many years,” explained Gomez. “However I know that Naples United is getting a lot stronger and very competitive, they have one year in the NPSL League so they have a lot more professional experience then we do. This is going to be a test for us and I know it’s going to be a great game.”
One thing that motivated Gomez’s love of soccer was his father.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was five years old,” said Gomez. “And really the thing that kept me going was my dad. He played in the third division in Mexico I just remember everyone talking about him and the games he played.”
The Immokalee Seminoles are also scheduled to play a friendly match against the Himmarshee Football on Feb. 17 at 4:30 p.m. at the Immokahlee Sports Complex.