Nathaly Villalobos begins her first season as graduate assistant
Published 5:19 pm Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Nathaly Villalobos, who played soccer for Point, has now joined the staff as a graduate assistant. Villalobos graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology last year and will pursue a master’s in business administration.
Villalobos also spent her summer playing for Chattanooga FC, an amateur team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
“It was very different from Point because of the level of play,” Villalobos said. “There were a bunch of division one and two girls. It was really intense all the time, but it was really fun. I also played against some girls who are in NAIA, so I played them while I was at Point.”
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Villalobos mentioned how the atmosphere was different at Chattanooga.
“We had a fan base called the Chattahooligans, and they would chant for us,” Villalobos said. “It was on another level.”
Villalobos followed Point head coach Randy Douglas and assistant coach Jasmine Marquez to Chattanooga.
“He spoke to me and Jasmine to see if we were interested in playing,” Villalobos said. “He didn’t even have to ask us twice.”
While playing for Chattanooga, Villalobos learned what it was like to play for a bigger club.
“We had a photoshoot for Volkswagen, who’s our biggest sponsor,” Villalobos said. “I learned how to play at a high tempo the whole time. The girls in that league are more interested in going professional because they go to division one and two schools.”
She also learned that consistency is key throughout a match.
“It’s very important to try to play at the same speed the whole game,” Villalobos said. “If you do, the other team may get tired and you still have energy to run.”
Villalobos explained how she became a graduate assistant for Point.
“I had an extra year of eligibility because of COVID,” Villalobos said. “For me to stay, coach [Douglas] offered me to get my master’s. I graduated with my bachelor’s and then started with my master’s.”
Villalobos’ responsibilities as a graduate assistant are to help out Marquez and prepare the players for games. She also has things to teach the players at Point.
“I’m very excited after playing for Chattanooga,” Villalobos said. “I’m trying to teach them about things I saw there and trying to get them to that level of play.”
As for her future, Villalobos hopes to play for a professional team.
“I’ll graduate in May next year, and after playing for Chattanooga, I can’t stop playing soccer,” Villalobos said. “My interest is to go play soccer at a professional level.”
Villalobos has connections with Puerto Rico’s national team that can help her reach the professional level.
“I have a few connections back home,” Villalobos said. “My best friend played professionally in France for a few months. I spoke to her, and she can help me play overseas.”
The biggest challenge for Villalobos to play professionally is the fact she won’t be able to play much before she graduates next year.
“Training by yourself is never the same as training with a team or a friend that’s interested in playing at that level,” Villalobos said. “I’m looking at trying out for a couple teams.”
Villalobos is currently in her hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico and will return to Point next week.