FRISCO — Four trophies, a plaque and a jersey sit elegantly in an individual glass case in SMU’s Heritage Hall. The number 9 on the white jersey with two blue horizontal stripes at the top overlooks all of the accolades, staring at the man who used to wear it.
A piece of SMU soccer’s history sits in the glass case — a former MAC Hermann Trophy winner, a ride to the College Cup, and four conference titles from 1998-2001.
FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez was the key to SMU’s success during that period, and it was he who wore No. 9, the one who ranks third in SMU program history with 128 career points. He’s the only player from SMU to win the Hermann Trophy.
18 years and six clubs later, the 6th overall pick in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft returned to where it all started when FC Dallas traveled to SMU to host its 4th Round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup matchup with OKC Energy FC.
It was then where he reminisced of his old playing days at his alma mater, strolling through Heritage Hall, perusing through SMU soccer history. A big chunk of it lays with him. It was an emotional day for Gonzalez, who always loves to come back to SMU for its campus and its people. But, before the team even left Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, Gonzalez admitted his return didn’t hit him until he actually thought about it.
“You know, I never really thought of it too much. It’s because SMU is a home of mine, it’s my alma mater and I have a lot of great friends that are still very involved with the school. And, I get to visit when I can. I seem to miss too many alumni games because of my schedule, but those guys and that program is always in my heart. I always get excited to visit the campus and to see a lot of the familiar faces. It’s a special moment to go to my college and do what I do for a living now, which is coach at this level and with the local team. So, it’s a nice feeling.”
FC Dallas went on to win its match 4-0, and after the game, Gonzalez admitted it was an honor to once again step foot on the field he played at his senior season.
“It was fantastic,” Gonzalez said. “This is my alma mater. I have a lot of great memories here, and I remember competing on this field and to do it as a coach is an honor. It was a great feeling.”