FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas Girls Academy midfielder Melania Fullerton has received her first call-up to the senior Grenada national team at just 16 years old for the upcoming Concacaf W qualifiers beginning this month.
Fullerton is a native of Wichita Falls but is eligible for Grenada via her parents who were born in the small Caribbean nation before moving to the United States for college.
“I think it’s just amazing. I’ve had experiences playing for Grenada and I loved it,” Fullerton said. “It’s literally my second home, a lot of my family lives down there. It’s an amazing opportunity to represent my parents’ home and my second home as well. It’s a great experience for me as a soccer player and my career.”
Fullerton, an attacking midfielder, joined FC Dallas in 2016 and now plays for the club’s U-16 Girls ECNL team coached by Matt Grubb. And while this is her first opportunity with Grenada’s senior team, Fullerton is no stranger to the international scene. She was called up to Grenada’s U-17 squad at just 10 years old and also represented the country at the U-15 Concacaf Women’s Championship three years later.
“It makes me proud,” said Kim Fullerton, Melania’s father, who introduced the sport to his daughter when she was 4. “It’s almost like giving back to your birth nation a little bit. She’s also a champion of the improvement of women’s soccer in Grenada. When she went over for the U-17s, at only 10, she was the youngest player in the entire tournament. But the people from Grenada hear the name, they see her on the field doing things among the 17-year-olds, it encourages a lot of young ladies to look at soccer as an option over there.”
Fullerton and Grenada kickoff their tournament against the Dominican Republic on Feb. 16 and will be looking to book a place in the 2022 Women’s Concacaf Championship—a competition that serves as the qualifier for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. But it won’t be an easy task for Grenada. Thirty nations from the Concacaf region entered the Concacaf W qualifiers and only six will advance to join the United States and Canada in the Concacaf Championship this summer. (The U.S. and Canada gained automatic qualification as the region’s top ranked teams.)
Still, Fullerton remains optimistic: “Grenada is a really small country, so it’s an amazing opportunity to make history for our country,” she said. “Coming from the U.S., I’m able to represent my family and I hope to score a few goals and help the team get as far as we can and do our best.”
ACADEMY: Melania Fullerton, Playing her Game