National U-16 team call-up a ‘dream come true’ for Ogden midfielder | News, Sports, Jobs

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Nevaeh Peregrina (13) of Ogden High celebrates with teammates after scoring the only goal in the 3A State Championship game against Morgan on Saturday October 23, 2021 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to Standard Examiner

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Nevaeh Peregrina of Ogden High practices with the girls’ soccer team on Friday, July 29, 2022 at Spence Eccles Community Sports Complex in Ogden.

Patrick Carr, Standard Examiner

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Ogden’s Nevaeh Peregrina (right) and Morgan’s Brecklee Charlton (left) battle for possession during a high school football game on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

Patrick Carr, Standard Examiner

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Morgan’s Brecklee Charlton, left, and Nevaeh Peregrina of Ogden, right, collide in an attempt for the ball during the 3A State Championship game on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to Standard Examiner

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Nevaeh Peregrina’s favorite place is a football field.

Football isn’t just junior Ogden High’s favorite sport, it’s where she wants to be when she’s happy, has something to celebrate, or needs to grieve.

This is where she wanted to be the day her grandfather died.

“My parents were like, ‘Do you need to come home?’ I was like, ‘No, take me to practice now,’ there was no way I could stay stable without it. The game is just something that has always surrounded me personally, my comfort, this is my safe place,” Peregrina said on Friday.

Sometimes both parts of her name are misspelled as “Neveah” (on her high school roster and Team USA roster) or “Peregrine”. Rest assured, opposing players and teams know who she is.

Peregrina is a crafty, confident and passionate midfielder with enough technical ability to beat players one-on-one.

“I think it’s something I was born with, it’s that confidence with the ball at my feet, because instead of running I like the ball right at my feet and I like to make a few of my stuff,” she said.

Peregrina scored 14 goals with seven assists last year and led the Tigers to a co-championship in Region 13 and the 3A state title.

“I’m just very, very, very, very competitive, with my family, we play games, card games and I’m always like, ‘I can’t lose’ or I lose, I’m like, ‘Okay let’s play again,’ then we’ll play for hours until I win,” she said.

Peregrina’s achievements with the Ogden side and the La Roca club side were dreams come true, she said.

Then she had the opportunity of a lifetime to don an American national team uniform – red, white and blue – in May in Sweden.

Peregrina, also a top college football rookie, had been on the national team’s radar for a few years, then got a call in early 2022 that she was one of 23 girls who had been selected. to go to Portland, Oregon, for a camp. and train at Nike headquarters.

Except the camp wasn’t a camp. It was a tryout for the National Women’s Under-16 Team.

“After our third day they were like, ‘Okay, 20 of you girls out of 23 are going to Sweden in three weeks,'” she said.

When Peregrina returned to Ogden, her club coach, Pancho Ovalle, called her a few days later and told her she was on the team.

It was an emotional moment. Peregrina was going to wear a Team USA jersey, just like one of her idols, superstar Alex Morgan (Peregrina wears #13 because of Morgan).

Peregrina said it didn’t feel real until she flew to New York, met some of the other national team players, then flew to Germany and Denmark before heading to Sweden for matches.

The U-16 team played in the UEFA Development Tournament, where the Americans beat hosts Sweden 4-1, France 3-1 and Norway 4-0. Peregrina played in all three games.

“In fact, to go to Sweden and be one of 20 girls in this whole nation is absolutely crazy and absolutely a dream of mine, it’s in my notes right now even before I went there, I was like, ‘ Be in the U-16 national team,’” Peregrina said.

Some of the most elite football players in the country, especially those on the national team radar, will sometimes forgo high school football and stick exclusively to the club circuit.

Peregrina, who started out in junior football playing with a boys’ team, dresses for the Tigers and seemed to have the most fun during Friday’s 100+ degree practice late afternoon on artificial grass.

“I think the girl group, the environment and the way we can play football here is something that keeps me coming back,” she said.

Peregrina has shaken things up for the past two seasons for the Ogden women’s soccer team.

During team drills on Friday, Peregrina collected the ball on the left side of the field, cut towards the middle and nonchalantly scored a goal from 25 yards just under the crossbar.

“She’s a phenomenal player, I’ve never coached someone like her before in my life,” Ogden coach Ryan Robinson said of Peregrina after the state championship game in 2021.

Last year, for example, she scored virtually from the corner flag against Ben Lomond seconds after asking fans if she should try to score from there.

The title-winning goal against Morgan in October was struck from around the same spot – just minutes after she told her teammates she would eventually score.

After Peregrina scored, she ran to Morgan’s student section who had been taunting her the entire game, turned around, pointed to the number on the back of her shirt, then made talking gestures with her hands.

“I feel like my hunger is still there, I’m a very, very painful loser so every time I lose I get super mad and luckily in this team we don’t lose. So that’s definitely something very, very good, I have so much passion for the game. It’s something I’ve been doing for 13 years now,” Peregrina said.

Playing with the U-16 team further claimed that she wanted to eventually turn professional, play football the rest of her life and have another opportunity with the national team.

“They call it ‘rent the ridge’ because you’re never sure of the team, you always have to go back to those camps over and over and try, that was their motto and it’s definitely something that has been stuck in my head every time I train, I want to rent that patch again and I want to be able to wear it and play for the national team,” Peregrina said.

She is majoring in soccer and will most likely find herself in a Division I team in two years. There are concerns about burnout among teenagers, as the trend is moving more towards specializing in one sport instead of playing several.

Peregrina says she suffered from burnout last year during the high school season. When she returned from national team matches in Europe, her mother gave her a break. Peregrina insisted that football is always where she is happiest.

“I never hated the sport, I always had such a love for the sport and it’s always what I need,” Peregrina said.

Connect with journalist Patrick Carr via email at [email protected], Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.


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