Family Cheers Dallas Native Omar Gonzalez in World Cup

Dallas native Omar Gonzalez played Thursday on Team USA at the World Cup in Brazil.

Gonzalez started for the first time in a World Cup game and played all 94 minutes.

His family said he is living his dream, which may have started when he volunteered at the World Cup in 1994.

"Attending the World Cup in 1994 he just thought, 'Hmmm — this is something I'd like to do too,'" said Angelica Gonzalez, Omar's sister-in-law. "Ever since then he's just worked toward it."

His brother, Adrian, said he started playing soccer when he was just 5-years-old. He played in Dallas as a child, was a kicker for Skyline High School and went on to train and study in Florida before playing college soccer in Maryland. Gonzalez was then picked up by the L.A. Galaxy.

"It's just kind of like a dream — like is this really happening? Is that really him playing?" said Angelica Gonzalez. "We're used to watching him on TV, but this is the World Cup."

Gonzalez was born and raised in Oak Cliff by his parents who came to the United States from Mexico when they were young. His parents and his wife Erica are in Brazil and were able to watch Thursday's game from the stands, but family and friends in Oak Cliff gathered to watch the drama unfold on TV.

"A little overwhelming. I had to check my pulse a couple of times make sure I was still breathing," said family friend Rita Castillo.

"I definitely think he is nervous, but it's his job and he is just trying to do the best he can," said Angelica. "He can rise to the occasion, but he's just like anybody else too."

His family describes him as down to earth and steady under pressure, and it seems that's how it plays out on the world's biggest stage.  

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