With the unconventional lifestyle that comes with being a professional athlete, from the physical toll of daily training sessions to the rigors of cross-country travel, stability off the field is especially important for players to remain grounded and sane.
When Fire defender Gonzalo Segares reports for pre-season training camp in January, he’ll enter his ninth season with the Men in Red not only with a new, multi-year contract with the Fire in his back pocket, but also sporting some new bling on his left hand when he marries fiance Rusti Gonzales this Saturday.
The college sweethearts met at Virginia Commonwealth University over ten years ago, and she has been a steady presence for the Costa Rican international.
“She was the neighbor of one of my teammates,” said Segares. “And now we’ve been living together for over a year so everything is going to be pretty easy and similar.”
Segares popped the question during a trip to Costa Rica last winter. Courtesy of his two brothers, Segares and his then-girlfriend were treated to a private dinner at a “mirador”, which from atop a mountain, provides panoramic views of the San Jose Valley.
“After dinner I excused myself to go to the bathroom and came back with flowers, the ring and I proposed,” recounted Segares. “Then we went back to my parents house to celebrate and relax with everyone. They had a guy playing cover songs on the guitar. He was very good so we were there for a few hours.”
Rusti, who is from Louisiana, has always wanted to get married on the beach, so a wedding in Costa Rica is the perfect fit. With almost 40 members of her family scheduled to travel for the wedding, the couple decided that instead of a honeymoon they will spend time with family and friends after Saturday's nuptials.
While Segares will know a lot more of the wedding guest, he'll also be joined at the ceremony by Fire head coach Frank Klopas and former teammate Bakary Soumare.
A veteran of over 200 competitive matches for the Fire, Segares, sees parallels between a marriage and playing soccer.
“You always have to be committed to the sport,” he said. “You have to pay a lot of attention to it; you have to take care of it, just like you have to take care of your wife and your marriage.”
“Everyone is excited. Having the celebration and making it official in front of our families and loved ones is definitely going to be something special.”