ACADEMY: Melania Fullerton, Playing her Game

FRISCO- FC Dallas U-14 midfielder Melania Fullerton, describes herself as a hard worker, successful and dedicated player. At the age of 10, she was called up to represent Grenada for the U-17s CONCACAF women’s Championship. She was the youngest player to be secured by Grenada's National Team. Something that was no surprise to her father Kim Fullerton.

“As a soccer coach, when she was probably 5 or 6 years of age, she would get there and she would just run on the field,” said Fullerton. “Even if there was a match in process she would just run on to the field and try to play. It was ingrained in her blood to play soccer. We tried dance, we tried ballet, we tried everything. Soccer stuck to her and she got after it a lot.”

The call was an opportunity for Melania to represent her talent. While she was a bit nervous she knew she was set to make history in Grenada's National Team. 

“When my dad told me I was very ecstatic about it, I realized I had to do a lot of training because they are 17-year-olds and I am going to play with a bunch of older kids, said Melania. “So I had to do a lot of training getting ready for that tournament. I wasn’t very nervous, well I was a little nervous because it was my first time but I know what I came there to do and I exceeded.”

“She’s also a champion in somewhat the improvement of women's soccer in the country,” said Fullerton. When she went over in the U-17 as only 10, she was the youngest player in the entire tournament but the people from Grenada hearing the name and seeing her on the field doing things among the other 17 years old. It encouraged a lot of the young ladies to look at soccer as an option over there.”

Being called up was nothing easy for a 10-year-old and three years down the road she would receive the call up once again to represent the U-15s CONCACAF Women’s Championship. This time, she was able to learn from past experiences and was ready to go. 

“Well I was glad that I got called up again, and so I knew what I had to show my best and do better than I was before cuz I was older, more mature and I was going to play harder and I had to make sure I did my best and make sure I won that Championship,” said Melania. “It means a lot because I am really young and to experience that whole thing it was amazing. I got a medal and that's like my biggest value medal that I have at my house.”

A silver metal that she showcases as one of the proudest memories she has in her young soccer career but it was not easy. 

“Getting to the final game was probably the most emotional I have ever heard her got in soccer,” said Melania’s father.“ I mean she called almost balling. She couldn’t speak and she was like dad we made it to the final. I know it was hard, it was breathtaking. She had to score a PK under pressure. It was never expected in the entire country in Grenada.”

Melania who assisted on a goal and as she scored one of the penalty kicks, it took a lot of pressure off a 13-year-old. Being able to earn that silver medal was a huge reward. Six games in nine days showed all her years of hard work and dedication. 

“Everyone was behind them and you could just feel the load of the pressure being taken off her, I know it was hard for her,” said Fullerton. “Offcourse socially the girls are a little bit older so she always felt like a loner in terms of the social interaction with the other girls but I always encouraged her and said you go there for one thing and that is to play your game and show your talent. She’s had a lot of role models and a lot of influences around. Especially in the FC Dallas Organization."

"All those (FC Dallas) coaches have helped me, they always challenged me at practice, make sure I do my best, give 100%," said Melania. "They encourage me on and off the field. My teammates always encourage me to make sure I do my best. Even if I mess up they tell me to come on you can keep doing, always do one more. Do your best." 

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