New England Soccer Today

LASA: Providence City Remembers Gomes


FALL RIVER, Mass. – Before friends and family gathered on Saturday for the funeral of local soccer star Armando Gomes, who was killed a car crash last weekend, his Providence City FC teammates took the pitch earlier in the week eager to play as a tribute to their fallen friend.

Originally, the LASA match between Providence City and Lincoln Sports (Bristol, R.I.) was set for the day after Gomes’ death. But both squads agreed to reschedule it later in the week in order to give the Rogues enough time to grieve the loss of their affable forward.

On Wednesday, they squared off under the lights at Billy Gonsalves Field in a match that most certainly held a special meaning for Providence City.

“It was great to get back on the field,” Providence City player/coach Tristan Lewis said. “Obviously, everyone was devastated when we found out on Saturday, and some of the boys even said, ‘Let’s go play’ on Sunday when we had a game, which was too soon, and we even thought it might be too soon tonight.”

But Lewis, who also played with Gomes at former LUSA powerhouse East Providence Sports between 2011-2013, posed the question again on Tuesday to see if his team was ready to play again.

“They said, ‘Yeah, let’s get out there, and play for him and his memory,'” Lewis said. “So we were really happy to do that.”

During warm ups, the team displayed a large banner above their bench that read “RIP Mondo,” and brought a jersey of Gomes’ with scribbled messages from the entire team. Players put black tape on their sleeves as a tribute. Prior to the opening whistle, both teams gathered around center circle, and applauded together for one minute in remembrance of Gomes.

With nearly the entire squad present for the match, Lewis wanted to get all of his players – which numbered close to 20 – a chance to play so each could actively partake in the emotional match.

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“It was great to get the whole squad out on the field, which is a tough thing to do as a manager,” Lewis said, with a laugh. “I think the boys did the club proud and Mondo as well, so we’re happy about that.”

After falling into an early deficit, City came back in fitting fashion during the 33rd minute on a goal from Andres Perdomo, who was Gomes’ strike partner for countless games dating back to their East Providence Sports days.

Although the Rogues fell by the score of 4-3 when it was all said and done, Lewis was far from crestfallen. In fact, he took a moment to reminisce about his friend and fellow teammate after the match.

“He was a great guy,” Lewis said. “I don’t think anyone I know who knew him ever had a bad word to say about him. He was always happy, always smiling, so chilled out and such a laid back character.”

On the field, Lewis said that in a game not very long ago, Gomes, who brought a teddy bear to each game as a de facto team mascot, scored a brilliant goal that the City player/coach, nor his teammates, will soon forget.

“It was overhead bicycle kick 25 yards in which the New Bedford team and our team – we were just silent,” Lewis said. “We all just applauded as fans of the game. He was that kind of special player, as well as a person. He always brightened up the changing room and the field.”

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