The USA Football ‘Heart of a Giant’ Award, presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants, recognizes high school football players in the tristate area for their unparalleled work ethic and passion for the game of football. This year’s grand prize winner, announced by Giants tight end Evan Engram via a special Zoom event, is Passaic County Technical and Vocational Schools’ (PCTVS) offensive lineman Yosue Gomez.
Gomez, a senior, was one of 60 initial nominees representing New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut high schools. An early round of online voting secured him a spot as one of 11 finalists last month. In the final round of competition, a required video submission included glowing testimonials by coaches and teammates. The kind words of support helped Gomez to earn the respect of the judges and edge out the other candidates to win the prestigious title.
Receiving this year’s award is a well-deserved acknowledgement of Gomez’s commitment, teamwork, dedication, and character. Gomez demonstrated courage and success playing for the PCTVS football team, while navigating through some tough personal challenges. Due to an unstable home life, during his sophomore year Yosue and his younger brother were placed in foster care, before their grandmother became their legal guardian.
Yosue discovered that football helped him get through a lot of the difficulties. Speaking of his embrace of the sport as a coping mechanism, Gomez said, “It took away from the things that were happening at home. It was definitely a necessary part of my day.”
Instead of letting his circumstances bring him down, Gomez turned to football and his schoolwork. He succeeded both on and off of the field, an accomplishment that did not go unnoticed by the sponsors of the award.
Dr. Samuel Taylor, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Giants’ associate team physician applauded Yosue’s 3.7 grade point average. “Getting good grades, dedicating yourself to sports and having the life challenges – which I can only imagine the stresses and the uncertainty and all the anxiety that comes with that – that really isn’t easy. It all together speaks of the quality of the man,” noted Dr. Taylor.
PCTVS veteran head football coach Matthew Demarest chimed in on the overall character of the young athlete. “Yosue Gomez is an unbelievable human being; probably one of the most outstanding people I’ve ever met,” he said. “With his selfless and positive demeanor, you would never know what he went through at home.”