Goals came at a fast and furious pace for Alfonso Vazquez over the last four seasons at Windham High School.
The Connecticut high school boys’ soccer record holder with 149 career goals delivered the first tally as a professional scoring the final goal in the Hartford Athletic’s 4-1 win over Loudoun United FC on Sunday night.
Vazquez took a pass from Andre Deas off his chest and ripped a right-footed shot over Loudoun United goalkeeper Colin Miller for a goal he won’t soon forget.
“It felt really good, amazing,” Vazquez said. “I saw Dre going to the corner so I knew I had to be in the box just in case and it came directly perfect to me to my chest. For a second, I thought I would have to push it out to be able to score. I saw the goal right there in front of me, I thought very fast in my head, ‘smash it’ and it just went in, it’s crazy.”
Vazquez opened the eyes of the Hartford Athletic at an open tryout in December. He was invited to train with Hartford during the preseason and promptly scored four times in six matches to earn a spot on the roster.
After not playing in the first two regular-season games, Vazquez made his debut in the 88th minute in a 3-2 win over Philadelphia Union II on July 25.
Deas and Vazquez both came on in the 86th minute on Sunday and connected in extra time as Hartford improved to 4-1.
His teammates mobbed Vazquez after the highlight-reel finish with even goalkeeper Parfait Mandanda racing down the field to congratulate the 18-year-old Vazquez, who had several family members in attendance at Dillon Stadium. Vazquez addressed the thrill of beginning his professional career in Connecticut leading into the season opener.
“It’s going to be very special because that really was what my dream was, to become a professional soccer player and now that it is happening and happening in my hometown, my family being able to witness and see everything happening is just an amazing feeling,” Vazquez said.
Danny Barrera had a goal and assist on Ever Guzman’s two goals in the first half for the Athletic.
The next home match for the USL Championship league Group F leading Athletic is Aug. 15 against the New York Red Bulls II.