Gonçalves in 2008
|Full name||José Júlio Gomes Gonçalves|
|Date of birth||17 September 1985|
|Place of birth||Lisbon, Portugal|
|Height||1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|New England Revolution|
|2006–2008||→ Hearts (loan)||38||(0)|
|2008–2009||→ 1. FC Nürnberg (loan)||14||(0)|
|2013||→ New England Revolution (loan)||34||(2)|
|2014–||New England Revolution||60||(3)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 September 2015.
Born in Lisbon to Portuguese people of Cape Verdean descent, Gonçalves moved to Switzerland at the age of two. He joined FC Basel in 2002 at 17, but could never appear officially for the first team over the course of two seasons.
Gonçalves split 2004–05 between FC Winterthur (second division) and S.S.C. Venezia (Italy, Serie B), returning to Switzerland for one additional season, with FC Thun in the Super League; with the Canton of Bern outfit, he first competed in the UEFA Champions League, playing in all six group stage games in an eventual third-place finish, with the subsequent UEFA Cup qualification.
Heart of Midlothian
After a trial spell, Everton decided not to pursue their interest in Gonçalves, while Newcastle United, Rangers and Crystal Palace were all linked to the player in the press. In January 2006, however, it was Heart of Midlothian that eventually acquired him, in a deal that saw him signed by owner Vladimir Romanov's other club, FBK Kaunas, and then immediately loaned out to the Edinburgh side.
Gonçalves made his official debut for Hearts in a 3–0 win against Aberdeen in the 2005–06 Scottish Cup, although a series of injuries curtailed his appearances during his first year with the club. After a six-month lay-off to deal with hamstring, hip and toe complaints, he returned to action against Dunfermline Athletic on 18 October.
On 4 July 2008 Gonçalves signed a new contract with Hearts, being immediately loaned to 1. FC Nürnberg from Germany on a season-long deal, with the second division club having an option to sign him on a permanent deal. Despite the club boasting the best defensive record in the competition and earning promotion to the Bundesliga via the play-offs with an aggregate score of 5–0 against FC Energie Cottbus, his season was interrupted by injury and the Bavarian outfit decided against signing him.
After featuring regularly for the Jambos in pre-season, Gonçalves made his first competitive appearance since his return in the team's opening fixture of the 2009–10 season, a 0–2 defeat against Dundee United at Tannadice Park. He scored his first goal for Hearts on 30 August 2009, heading home in a 2–2 draw at St. Johnstone.
Despite having an impressive first half of the season, Gonçalves was dropped from the team in January 2010, following the appointment of Jim Jefferies as manager. The latter stated the reason behind the former's omission from the squad was his refusal to sign a contract extension with the club, with his link due to expire at the end of the campaign. On 7 March 2010, Gonçalves returned to the Hearts starting line-up in the 0–1 away defeat against Dundee United, due to a number of injuries in the main squad, particularly in the defensive sector, and Jefferies confirmed after the game that he would not have selected Gonçalves if he had had enough fit players; the Portuguese left the club in June 2010, after both parties failed to reach an agreement for a new contract.
On 18 June 2010, it was announced on Gonçalves' personal website that his management was in talks with Rangers, and that he hoped to have his future resolved within the next two or three weeks. However, negotiations broke down, and he also underwent a knee operation in the summer. After leaving Hearts, Gonçalves reflects his time at Hearts, quoting: "I was in Scotland for four-and-a-half years and I had some great times. I only want the best for Hearts and I will always follow them, even when I stop playing because they are an old club of mine."
Return to Switzerland
On 16 January 2011, Gonçalves signed a two-and-a-half year contract with FC St. Gallen, in the top division. He scored his first goal for his new club in a 3–2 friendly victory over FC Schaffhausen played the previous day. On 6 February, he made his competitive debut, playing as a centre back in a 1–4 league defeat against Grasshopper Club Zürich at the AFG Arena.
On 3 April 2011, upon his return from a one-game suspension, Gonçalves scored his first goal for St. Gallen in a 1–1 draw at FC Luzern. On 20 April 2011, in his tenth official appearance for the team, he earned his first win, a 3–1 victory over Grasshoppers at Letzigrund. He started in all the league games he appeared in, but could not help prevent the club's eventual relegation, as last.
On 10 June 2011, Gonçalves informed St. Gallen that he would be invoking a clause in his contract, which allowed him to sever ties with the club in the event of relegation, joining fellow top-divisioner FC Sion shortly after. He was considered ineligible to play competitive football for his new club due to the sanctions imposed on it following the transfer of Essam El-Hadary in 2008; thus, he missed the start of the 2011–12 season, and admitted his frustration at his debut being delayed because of the ongoing case.
Despite warnings from FIFA, Gonçalves was named on the bench on 13 August 2011 for a league match against Luzern, but did not appear in the game. He made his debut for Sion against Celtic in the season's UEFA Europa League, in a 0–0 away draw; his league debut arrived three days later, in a 2–0 victory at FC Lausanne-Sport.
New England Revolution
On 3 January 2013, Gonçalves moved on loan with the New England Revolution. He made his competitive debut on 9 March in a 1-0 win against the Chicago Fire, and scored his first goal for his new team off a header in a 2–0 win against the Columbus Crew, on 20 July.
On 12 October 2013 Gonçalves had, according to MLSSoccer.com's Power Rankings editors, "perhaps the best game any defender has played in MLS this season", scoring once and guiding the defense to a crucial 1–0 shutout of the Montreal Impact to keep the Revolution's playoff hopes afloat. The following week, in the side's last home game of the year, a 3–2 win over the Columbus Crew that clinched New England the final playoff spot with one game left, he was given the Man of the Year award by the Midnight Riders supporters group; that same night, he was honored with the Best Defender award by the team.
Gonçalves was the only player to play every single minute of the Revolution’s 2013 season. On 22 November 2013, the club exercised the purchase option on his loan from Sion and exercised his 2014 contract option to keep him with the team for the next year.
Gonçalves was eligible to represent Cape Verde, Portugal and Switzerland at international level. He chose to play for the second, gaining three caps for the under-21's and representing the nation at the 2007 UEFA European Football Championship, appearing 57 minutes in the 0–0 group stage draw against Belgium in an eventual group stage exit.
On 31 September 2009, after solid displays for Hearts, Gonçalves earned a place in Carlos Queiroz's provisional Portuguese squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Hungary and Malta. However, he missed out on the final list of 22.
Gonçalves speaks six languages in total – Italian, French, German, Portuguese, English and Spanish.
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- José Gonçalves at footballzz.co.uk
- José Gonçalves profile at ForaDeJogo
- José Gonçalves career statistics at Soccerbase
- José Gonçalves profile at Soccerway
- London Hearts profile