HARLINGEN — A quote that drove Los Fresnos senior Natalia Alegria throughout her soccer career was “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
For the past nine years she has dedicated herself to soccer, traveling often with club teams and giving her all to the Lady Falcons’ program. On Wednesday, Alegria’s hard work and talent led her to signing with Dallas Christian College to continue her career in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
“I honestly couldn’t believe I was able to sign. I felt like finally all the hard work over the years, going out of town for games, practicing every day after school, I felt like it all paid off today,” Alegria said. “It was very nice to have all my family and friends there supporting me. … I would like to thank my parents. And one of my coaches from when I was a little girl, Lalo Mata, he’s the one who really gave me that good work ethic and told me you need to work hard to get anywhere.”
Alegria will be playing for coach Eric Smith when she joins the Crusaders. She said Smith saw her videos on a recruiting website, FieldLevel, and sent her a text that began her journey to Dallas Christian in October. After visiting the campus, Alegria decided it was the right place to go.
“(Smith) reached out to me and said, ‘I’m interested in you as a player. I’m always open if you want to get in touch with me and see if you like the school,’” Alegria said. “It made the process a lot easier. And what helped is he made it personal. When he gave me my letter of intent at the school on my visit, he wrote me a little letter stating he hoped that I would go and that also convinced me. I felt like I was needed and wanted.”
Alegria will be an offensive and defensive midfielder when she joins the Crusaders. She feels her work ethic, ball distribution and ability to recover possession will help her be an asset at the college level.
While playing soccer, Alegria will be studying psychology and hopes to have a career helping people in the future.
“I want to help people with mental health disorders because I know it’s a very big problem, especially now in our society, and I really want to help those people so they can get better,” Alegria said.
Lady Falcons coach Diego Luna said it was special to watch Alegria advance to the next level. He said she has a high soccer IQ and that she set a prime example for the younger girls in the program of how to always give it your all and “play like there’s no tomorrow.”
“I’ve known her since seventh grade. Watching her grow and develop into a complete soccer player was amazing,” Luna said. “Like she said today, her advice from her family was to ‘echale ganas.’ That’s one of the things that really defined Natalia and my senior class this year. Just go out there and leave it all. You could see Natalia’s effort was all-out on the field. Hopefully my freshmen and sophomores that were playing alongside Natalia will get that from her and play just like her.”