Home Volleyball Volleyball becomes Paterson NJ teen’s ticket to college

Volleyball becomes Paterson NJ teen’s ticket to college

By Ed Rumley, Paterson Press
Published 1:34 p.m. ET July 10, 2019

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PATERSON – Baseball was king where George Gonzalez grew up in the Dominican Republic. In fact, people thought his passion for volleyball was strange.

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“No one, not even my family, said I would do anything with volleyball,” said Gonzalez, who recently graduated from Paterson’s Eastside High School.

But that didn’t discourage Gonzalez.

“All my life, I just kept on playing because I loved the game,” Gonzalez said.  “I never played because I thought I would get something out of it.”  

Gonzalez did get something, however: He recently accepted a $40,000 academic and extracurricular activities scholarship to play volleyball at Division III Elmira College in upstate New York.

George Gonzalez, Eastside (Photo: Charlie McGill/NorthJersey.com)

Gonzalez said that when he arrived in the United States several years ago, he knew very little English and his most difficult obstacle was communication. Playing volleyball helped him adapt to the new culture.

“When volleyball players come together on the court, they all speak the same language,” Gonzalez said. “You may speak differently, but you can play with anybody.  Now, four years later, I feel real good about how I communicate.” 

Gonzalez was picked for various all-county and all-state volleyball teams. He was named The Record’s Athlete of the Week in April, and he set Eastside’s school record for career kills by recording 705, according to his coach, Robert Black.

“It’s been a pleasure coaching George this entire time,” Black said, noting his role as captain. “His work ethic and attitude is excellent, both on the court and off.”

During the season, Gonzalez also had a part-time job at the Wendy’s restaurant in downtown Paterson, his coach said.

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“This year, George has gone from home, to school, to practice, to work, and then home again,” Black said.

Gonzalez may have gotten that work ethic from his father, Juan Gonzalez. “My dad works very hard in shipping,” he said.  “He drives a truck to New York and Connecticut.  Last year, he could come to my games but this year he couldn’t because of work.” 

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