Life comes at you fast. In a span of two weeks Gordy Gurson has two new teams in two different countries.
On May 4 Deportivo Don Roge announced they had signed Gurson for the upcoming Liga Mexicana de Futbol Rapido season. When Gurson broke the news on Facebook, it was like an “I am Iron Man” moment. It’s exceedingly rare, perhaps unprecedented, for an American player to play in the 8th year Mexican summer arena league.
“Don Roge tried to bring me out there last season, things didn’t end up working out and I chased the outdoor dream to play in Australia,” said Gurson. “This summer I thought, ‘Why not give it a shot? It will be a great experience for me!'”
Gurson, who has played 107 games (thanks to a timely rookie season trade that allowed him to play 23 games in the 20 game season) the last five seasons while MASL teams have only had 106 on the schedule, never says no to a game, whether it’s the USNAST, MASL, outdoor, futsal, or futbol rapido.
Ironically, the opportunity in Mexico materialized because Gurson did say no to a return to Australia after making the great journey to Tasmania last offseason to play for the Olympia FC Warriors.
“I had a chance to play in Australia with two different teams this season,” said Gurson. “However I thought it was best for me to stay in Chicago this season and see where it takes me.”
Gordy doesn’t report to Mexico until May 23, but he’s been keeping busy playing outdoors for RWB Adria in the UPSL.
This past season was a disappointment for Gurson. Despite setting a new career high in assists with 24 and the second most goals (34) and points (58) of his career, the Orlando SeaWolves finished 9-15 and missed the playoffs.
“My season in Orlando to me was a fail,” Gurson said. “Doesn’t matter what happens individually. What matters is I had to sit at home and watch the postseason while others had a chance to fight for a championship. I had a little taste of the playoffs last year (in Cedar Rapids) but all I want is postseason from here on out. That’s my goal every season no matter how I do individually.”
Which makes the second part of Gurson’s transaction news this month a little surprising. On Tuesday, Gurson signed with the Florida Tropics, who finished behind the SeaWolves at 6-18.
Florida had a midseason tear-down last year taking struggling Antonio Manfut off the St. Louis Ambush’s hands and sending player/assistant coach Freddy Moojen to Utica City FC. Manfut and Andre Braithwaite, acquired in the Moojen deal, excelled for Florida. The Tropics have been aggressive in free agency this offseason, adding Ricardo Carvalho from the Harrisburg Heat as well as Gurson, and they re-signed Manfut, Victor Parreiras, and Anthony Arico to multi-year contracts.
“They are making signings to show they want to win and make a run for the playoffs,” Gurson said. “Once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen and (coach) Clay Roberts and the Tropics organization showed me they wanted me to help bring the team to their first MASL playoffs.”
Before that, Gurson will be in Sabinas, Coahuila trying to help Don Roge win a second straight LMFR title. Gurson will team up with some of the biggest Mexican stars in the MASL including Diego Reynoso, Miguel Vaca, Wilo Martinez, Omar Tapia, and Cesar Cerda.
“I think it’s going to be great to play with players like this,” Gurson says. “To learn a bit more of the game from players I usually play against is something I always look forward to. Every day I want to learn more to become better for myself and future teammates.”
Gordy’s move to Don Roge may seem like a novel leap of faith. He doesn’t speak Spanish and he’s never stayed in Mexico for more than a couple days, but he says it gives him a greater appreciation for players who don’t speak English and come to the MASL from places like Mexico and Brazil to play.
“That’s why I’m exited, to spend a summer in Mexico, learn the language a bit more, experience more of the Hispanic culture, and play the game I love. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up on.
“My Spanish is muy mal. I have been sitting by my phone most of the days translating Spanish to English! I know Cerda speaks English so I’m going to be relying on him a lot.”
Gurson, who just turned 27 on May 2, has always worked hard to improve his game, whether it’s setting up teammates more often instead of always going to goal, or getting more involved in the defensive end.
“People think I’m all about goals and assists,” Gurson says. “Let them have their own opinion. I have watched just about every game the last four or five years in this league and defense wins championships. I take a lot of pride in playing defense and I think it gets overlooked sometimes.”
Not long after the LMFR season ends, Gurson will head to Lakeland to start his tenure with his old team’s in-state rival. After 3 1/2 years with the Cedar Rapids Rampage/Orlando SeaWolves organization, Gurson signed a one-year deal with the Tropics.
“It definitely wasn’t easy to leave that organization who have been great to me for years. Chris without a doubt has the best housing in the league and truly cares for his players,” Gurson said of SeaWolves GM Chris Kokalis.
Regardless of how Gurson’s season with the Tropics goes, he will no doubt be in high demand again next Live Period.