When you put together an expansion team in Arena Football, you leave no stone unturned in finding talent. It’s an added bonus when a team can add veteran players that already have experience playing on the fifty yard field. In the case of the Streets, they’ve been able to acquire many talented players that have indoor football experience and last week they were fortunate to add two more.
The Streets have signed a pair of veteran Arena Football defensive linemen, Herbert “Cheeto” Gonzales and Thomas Dover, that are expected to pay immediate dividends. Dover made his Streets debut this past Saturday in Carolina while Gonzales could make his first appearance in a Streets uniform this coming Sunday in Orlando.
Both players are welcome additions to an already talented defense.
“We are excited to have players with the pedigree and background that both Cheeto and Tommy bring to the Streets,” said Head Coach Rick Marsilio. Both are going to push our rookies to be even better.”
Gonzales played college football at Texas State and would go on to play indoors with the Arizona Rattlers and Nebraska Danger during the 2017 IFL season. At 6-0, 295 pounds, Gonzales brings a strong skill set to the Streets and the 26 year old is pumped up to be playing in New York.
“I’m definitely excited,” said Gonzales. “It’s a great opportunity to join a group of guys and add some depth and be a part of this program and make some big time plays for us. I definitely think I’ll make an immediate impact once I get on the field.”
You might be wondering how Gonzales got the nickname “Cheeto” and there is a story behind it. When he was in college, some former teammates at Texas State started calling him “Flaming Hot Cheetos” because he had dreaded hair that used to be bright red.
“I was a little bit of a hot head,” said Gonzales. “Then (the nickname) was shorted to Cheeto.”
Most recently, Gonzales played for the San Antonio Commanders of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football. The San Antonio native had the chance to display his skills playing for his hometown team, but the plug was pulled on the league with two weeks remaining in the regular season. That created a situation where the players were scrambling to find jobs.
“It was definitely difficult,” said Gonzales. “We had a lot of guys that were signing their rights to teams and trying to be that guy that gets picked up. We were waiting on the call. It was just a surprise to everybody and it was just great to be able to go and continue my professional career and be able to showcase my talents.”
With the acquisition of Dover, the Streets have added a player with extensive Arena Football experience. Dover spent two seasons with the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League and was a member of the Phily’s ArenaBowl Championship team in 2017. Last season with the Soul, Dover recorded seven tackles and two sacks.
Dover certainly has a championship resume as he is now reunited with Marsilio who previously coached him with the York Capitals of the AIF in 2015 and won a championship together in an undefeated season.
“It is great for us to get his veteran leadership and presence here in New York,” said Marsilio.
The 29 year old Dover is thrilled to have an opportunity to play for Marsilio again, but he did have one reservation about joining the Streets. He had been paying attention to what was happening in New York over the first couple of games and he didn’t want to disrupt the chemistry, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“I figured it might be tough for me with what they had going on,” said Dover, who played college football at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. “They’re meshing pretty well so I didn’t want to come in and mess something up.”
If his first game with the Streets was any indication, Dover has nothing to worry about. He recorded two sacks, three tackles, and a forced fumble during Saturday night’s loss to the Cobras in Carolina. The 6-3 270 pound defensive tackle from Williamsburg, Virginia has already made an impact.
“It felt great,” said Dover. “It was just good to get back out there. I felt pretty good and got back in the swing of things. I was able to make some plays for the team.”
As the Streets get ready to head to Orlando and get back on the winning track, the organization has to feel good about two additions in Herbert “Cheeto” Gonzales and Thomas Dover that will help take the defense to another level. While Arena Football is generally high scoring, the best teams always find a way to play tough defense and the Streets have acquired two players that fit that mold.