MHS soccer player will be on NickSports

For McCollum High School junior Naucalli Mendoza Fraga, soccer isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life.

Her passion for the game recently landed her a training session with some of the best soccer players in the nation and air time on Nickelodeon’s reality TV series “Soccer Superstar” on NickSports.  

The show follows the search for the best teen female soccer player in the nation and is hosted by Heather Mitts, the three-time Olympic gold medalist and defender for the United States Women’s National Soccer team.

Acclaimed judges on the show include National Soccer Hall of Famer Marcelo Balboa, two-time Olympic gold medalist Angela Hucles and youth development expert Dan Metcalfe.

When Naucalli found out the show would be hosting try-outs in four U.S. cities, she packed her soccer gear and headed to Dallas - the first stop on the show’s route.   

The McCollum HS Cowboy made quite an impression on the judges and came in fourth place. America will get to see Naucalli’s skills when the first episode airs on July 15 at 8 p.m.

During the episode, Naucalli talks about her hometown and her soccer journey at McCollum HS, where she is now part of the varsity soccer team and was the top scorer when she played on the JV team.

Although Naucalli didn’t make it to the final round, she is grateful for the opportunity and came back home just in time to help her JV team win the District Championship.

Prior to joining the McCollum HS soccer team, Naucalli played for Terrell Wells Middle School, but her love for soccer was etched in her heart years before she joined a team.

She remembers it being a cold and gloomy day when her second grade teacher at Carroll Bell Elementary Mr. Robert Soto took the class outside for recess. As the kids were unimpressed with a wet playground, Mr. Soto rolled a soccer ball on the field and yelled, “Boys against girls!”

Eight-year-old Naucalli was hooked.

“Ever since that day I’ve kept going back to the field,” Naucalli said. “I’d say it’s because of my second grade teacher that I love this sport so much.”

Before middle school it was hard for her to find a team to join, so she rolled the ball around at school, at the park, with friends, cousins and mostly with boys.

“I actually think playing with boys helped me because they are aggressive and they won’t back down,” Naucalli added.

She assumed it was a male sport until she was 10 years old and her dad showed her that there are professional female soccer players. Ever since then, her goal has been to play for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.  

She knows the road won’t be easy, but she’s determined to make her dream a reality. And she’s not too far off.

After trying out for the TV show, her skills caught the attention of major sportswear corporation Adidas. Naucalli won the Adidas “Here to Create” contest that asked women to submit a creative video showcasing their athletic talents.

Her prize included a letter from Adidas encouraging her to follow her dreams and a poster of the U.S. National Soccer Players signed by professional soccer defender Becky Sauerbrunn.

Naucalli hopes to one day play alongside the pros, but for now the young athlete is happy training every day.  

“When I’m playing soccer I get this feeling that I can’t describe, I just forget about all of the problems out there,” Naucalli said. “The ball is my best friend.”

MHS Soccer

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