Ashley Mejilla has been given the opportunity to take her talents to the next level.
A senior midfielder on the Central Michigan women’s soccer team, Mejilla has been invited by the Philippine Football Federation to participate in a training camp with the Philippine National Women’s football team.
The announcement on Tuesday morning, made by CMU President George Ross in front of the soccer team after practice was something Mejilla was not expecting.
“It’s crossed my mind before to play soccer after CMU, but I didn’t really think of actually going anywhere,” she said.
After the initial shock wore off, Mejilla shared the good news with those closest to her.
“I called my mom first, and she was super happy for me,” Mejilla said. “I got a bunch of texts from my family and friends all being super supportive. I’m really excited.”
Mejilla is from Mississauga, Ontario. Both of her parents are of Philippine heritage, and she has visited the Philippines once before.
The health fitness major was invited to attend the Philippine Women’s National Team’s training camp at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif. between Nov. 14 and Nov. 21 as it prepares for the LA Vikings Cup 2012 in late November.
Head coach Neil Stafford said Mejilla deserves the honor.
“I’ve always thought she was a talented player,” he said. “She’s a unique player and a unique person. She was under a lot of pressure last year,and she handles that well. She always puts forth a good effort.”
Stafford said that Mejilla is the first CMU women’s soccer player to receive an invitation from a national team to participate in tryouts.
Mejilla will be among players vying for 23 spots on the 2012 LA Vikings Cup squad. She will also be included in the pool of players for future Philippine Women’s National Team rosters for FIFA events.
Stafford said he and other coaches have talked before about wanting their players to receive the credit they deserve.
“The coaches here now and in the past feel responsible for Ashley’s development,” he said. “For her to receive the recognition and the credit she deserves is also a credit to everyone else involved.”
Since joining the program, Stafford said Mejilla has matured as a player.
Mejilla also knows she has grown in more ways than one.
“I’ve learned to be a better player but also a better person all around while being here,” she said.
After scoring just one goal her freshman season, Mejilla tallied five in each of the next two seasons. Of her 11 career goals, seven have been game-winners.