Student Spotlight: Nelia Perez


Janie Towler, Staff Writer

Q: You recently  committed to Radford University for soccer. What made you decide on Radford?

A: Well, they’ve been in contact with me for about year now and they offered me the most money to play there. They gave me the opportunity to  stay on campus for a weekend and stay with the team and I really liked the feel of the camps when I went. The team was also super welcoming.

Q: When did you first start playing soccer?

A: When I was 11 years old on a rec team, and then 2 years after that I started playing travel. So I’ve been playing about 7 years.

Q: Is there a particular coach that inspired you or was your favorite and why?

A: My first travel team coach, Coach Sait. He is the one that kind of built me as a player and pushed me to keep going forward, and that’s probably the most inspirational coach I’ve had so far.

Q: When you first started playing, did you think you would ever play at a Division 1 school?

A: No, but I had the mindset that I should play D1 because everyone always told me I could so I just felt like I should keep going and strive to play at that level.

Q: Who, if anyone, would you say supported you the most throughout your soccer career?

A: I would have to say my parents, but especially my dad because he was the one that would come to the games and support me because he’s a dad and he’s more into sports. He’s supported me and encouraged me to keep travelling and strive to become the best I can be.

Q: What position do you usually play?

A: I’m a pretty wide ranged player but I usually play forward. Forward is what I’ll hopefully  be playing at Radford. I’m guessing that’s what they recruited me for because that’s what they saw me playing but other than that I can play defense, mainly center defense.

Q: Which position do you like better or prefer?

A: Defense is calmer, I can definitely say that because when you’re a forward you’re constantly running and all eyes are on you to score the goal. Defense you’re just trying to clear the ball out, so I would say playing forward gives me more of a rush because all the pressure is on you to score and bring home the win.

Q: What are you most excited for in your upcoming Radford soccer season?

A: Traveling is probably the most exciting part and meeting the girls and getting a feel for college soccer is exciting also because I know that level of soccer is higher up and more competitive and intense.

Q: Are you nervous at all?

A: Well yeah, I am really nervous because there are like 30 girls on the team and only 11 start so I am just nervous that I’m not fit enough but hopefully I’ll get like a feel of how the team is and how the girls are and be a little bit more comfortable.

Q: What is your most fond memory playing as a Monarch?

A: Freshman year, I was on varsity and we made it to regionals and I scored the first goal for our first quarter-final game against Maury. Another good memory is from last year when we went into overtime against Great Bridge. It was golden goal and I scored in the last 30 seconds of the last overtime before penalty kicks. That’s one of my favorite memories.

Even though soon you’ll officially be a Highlander, just know that you’re always a Monarch at heart! We are so proud of you Nelia and good luck in your senior season, as well as your college soccer career. Keep doing big things!