While growing up in upstate New York and attending Ichabod Crane High School, Mariela Jacome never imagined herself playing in soccer’s biggest event, the Women’s World Cup.
The dream of her lifetime came to fruition this summer in Canada, as the former high school captain and current Division I talent had the opportunity to play on the pitch against the world’s greatest athletes.
With her father 100 percent Ecuadorian, Jacome qualified to try out for the country’s national team only to impress the coaching staff, earning a spot on a very competitive roster.
“It was amazing and really surreal,” Jacome said. “It really set in that I was doing something that millions of people would love to experience. This adds a lot more to my resume.”
The Red Storm mid-fielder first came across the idea of playing for the squad when she visited her family in Ecuador for the first time in five years.
“In January, I was at my uncle’s house playing with my cousins,” she said. “He calls me and says, ‘do you have your cleats?’ He wanted me to go play with the national team and my jaw just dropped. I figured I would take it as a learning experience because there was nothing to lose.”
It all worked out for the best because on the final day of the tryout the head coach told Jacome that they were considering her for the World Cup roster.
“I was completely shocked,” Jacome said. “I had to make the decision to switch all my classes to online and leave school for the semester. There was no guarantee that I would make it (with another tryout in the weeks to come) but luckily I ended up making the final roster.”
Now, Jacome is focusing on the collegiate season after playing in 20 games and recording one assist during her freshman campaign with the St. John’s women’s soccer team.
“I want to have more confidence in my game,” she said. “It’s hard when you’re coming in as a freshman. You don’t really know where you stand and you’re just trying to get into the swing of things. I thought a lot of the time I was held back last year so I’m just trying to bring it all, help others when I can and receive feedback.”
While it’s been a crazy last few months, it is not expected to die down anytime soon for Jacome as she and her teammates expect to compete for the Big East title.
It all started in Kinderhook, N.Y. but with rigorous conditioning programs, development and hard work, Jacome could possibly play on yet another big stage and could conquer the surreal dream of playing in the NCAA Tournament with her St. John’s teammates by her side.