Welcome back FORTituders. Our guest today is the incredible future star in the form of one Grace Collins TCU Junior soccer forward. She hails from Houston, Texas. More specifically Memorial High School there in 20 1718. She’s the Gatorade Texas girls soccer player of the year. She was ranked by top drawer Texas as a number 52 player in the country in number six athlete in Texas. She also earned USA Today’s second team all girls soccer honors. She She garnered MVP honors after helping morial high school to a state championship in the year 2018. Correct. Yes, she was named the TGC a soccer Athlete of the Year as a junior and district offense offensive MVP three times, not just once, three times. From there she went on to a school called TCU. You might have heard of it Brinton, it’s well they have a very prominent soccer program these days, which we’ll discuss when Grace got to TCU she started off with start off on fire 20 year 2020. She was big 12 player of the year last year. So she was the big 12 player of the year which is incredible. First Team all big 12 as well as all Academic Team. So she’s a smarty good. You’ve already you’ve already realized you’re probably the smartest person at this desk. This you might be smarter than these two this side combined. Great. This year she’s listed as United United Soccer Coaches second team all American and top door soccer coms best big, big 11 second team get that correctly. Okay. Last year, she had a goal started 16 games for game winning game winning goals in the in the mix. She scored twice, including the game winning goal in TCU. Six to win over New Mexico and the second round of the NCAA tournament, which we all followed here on fortitude, and we discussed it several times. And she had a comfortability kick to help TCU advanced against Georgetown and sweet 16. We know the ride into too short for you guys, but you made a hell of an effort. We’re very proud of you. But Welcome to the show. Grace, we’re so glad to have you. Thanks for being here, guys. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here. Oh, great.
So I’m a childhood question. So you have a lot of soccer moms out there and a lot of soccer dads, which presumably you may have had grown up to who all think that their children, you know, with these young ages are going to become these soccer stars like you are. How, how did that happen for you? What did that kind of look like?
Um, well, I grew up in Las Vegas. And so I started at a rec team there. And then I played club soccer for a year. And then I moved to Houston and I, we didn’t really know like the club soccer team or the scene in Houston. So I started off kind of like a lower level club. And we started playing this club called Albion, and it was like a big rivalry game. And so after that, I moved over to Albion, and I’ve been there ever since. So that’s how my soccer career kind of happened. Nice. Grace. When
did you realize personally that you were better than other people who were playing against? Is it was there a definitive time in your life when you like, Oh, my gosh, I can beat these people.
Um, I don’t know if there was a huge time I I think when I was I just moved to Houston and I was playing on this other club team that I kind of realized that I could play on a better team and my parents kind of started telling me that I could and I think that’s when it all started when I kind of started to believe in myself a little bit. How old were you when that happened? I was in sixth grade. Okay, a
lot of parental encouragement along the way. Yes. A lot. A lot of encouragement.
How does one celebrate a six A state championship?
Oh my gosh, I’m still celebrating to this day. Me and all the girls on that team. We are still super close. And every year we meet up and we talk about it and stuff. So that was such a great experience. I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Do any of those girls play on other teams that you play against? Yeah.
So Gracie she plays for Oklahoma State. Kelsey Ranchi she plays for Texas and then some other girls play for schools in different conferences. SMU University of Houston rice, Texas State so we were we were really good team.
Is it hard to play against them because they’re being presumably like your some of your closest friends.
Oh, It’s a little hard, but it’s almost a little more motivating. Like, when we played them. I’m like, I want to beat them. It’s like, it’s almost like it’s more personal. So it makes it a little a little trash talk. Maybe? Yeah,
good. How so you did this credible thing in high school at Memorial, then you’re recruited by colleges heavily recruited?
Um, yeah. So there was a recent role change where girls can’t get recruited to their junior year. But I started getting recruited when I was a freshman. And so I visited like five schools, I think, and TCU really stuck out to me and my parents, and I think I committed April of my freshman year,
I assume you’re happy with your decision? What is the recruiting process look like for someone like you? How did they bring you into the school and show you around all that kind of thing?
Yeah, basically, all of that. They just call you up in ask you to come on an unofficial visit, and you and your family go up and look at the campus. Look at the soccer facilities, talk to the coaches.
So we’ve got you in between two games. There was one few nights ago, I think it was Stephen F. Austin, and then you got a&m coming up on Sunday. So tell us where you’re kind of mentally around those
last night again, Stephen F. Austin, I thought we played really well. I thought our team chemistry was there. And I think as a whole we’re really excited to play a&m. You know, it’s our home opener. We haven’t played here since the spring. And like, it’s just really exciting to get back out there. I think. And you know, some folks on that a&m team as well. Yeah, yeah, I do know a few girls on the team.
Yeah, coming out of the Houston soccer scene. It’s probably that you know, a lot who are playing in other schools? Oh,
yeah, I would say they, a lot of the Texas schools kind of heavily recruited out of that area, we have some really good clubs and girls coming out of there.
And the game is in two days Sunday from the recording, it’ll be after the recording is released. But both teams top 10 and last year, we had a disappointing loss to a&m. So there’s a little bit more on the on the on the on the line here then normally playing a&m, which always brings a lot to the table. So that’s very exciting. You failed to mention though your game yesterday. How many goals do we score? I scored two goals. Yes. Yes.
Were you trying to go for the hat trick? Like our former guests here today?
A little bit? Yeah. That was always that’s always on your mind when you have to?
Yeah. Going back to last year. For the last time we won’t we won’t dwell on this too much. But against Virginia, that was where the rut road ended. What happened in the game? Could you describe in zero point that? Because you guys played really well, we know that, but it just didn’t work out in your favor. What What happened,
um, Virginia was pretty heartbreaking. You know, we really believed as a team that we could get to the Final Four. But I think we just played kind of slow. And you know, Virginia was a fantastic team. They played great. But I think we just needed to be a little more buttoned up on our set piece defending and, like, attacking wise, we could have been a little better.
What would you say that grace Collins is best at? And on the soccer field? What are you what are your strengths in your mind?
Um, I would say my strengths are my shot, I think I have a pretty good shot. And it’s always exciting getting up around the 18. And like, looking at opportunities to shoot and score goals. And I would also say that
actually, that’s it.
Do you enjoy the media side of sports? Because obviously you’re a good soccer player does the media that you enjoy interviews and silly podcasts? Is this your first podcast? This is a serious part my first podcast this year probably as simple as it gets. I’m sure you’ve probably realized this isn’t a complicated issue. But yeah, so the media side of it, does that bother you at all?
No, I enjoy the media side of it. I just think there’s like a proper balance of it just to not be like too involved in like to, like into it because I think that can take away from like what we’re actually doing, which is playing soccer
coach mill might tell you don’t read your press clippings. Because people do that. That doesn’t go right sometimes. So that’s good.
So I think a lot of people watch that Euro Cup this summer. And and you saw the way it ended, obviously, every state with these penalty kicks, and it was a very young player. So what’s your take on that? I mean, as a forward you’re presumably going to be in that lineup and taking one of those final shots. Do you feel like this is a terrible way to end the game? Are you so tired after you know to I don’t even know what college is? Is it like two quarters of overtime or to extend times like that? Or how does it work? So
what we do is we do 215 minute periods and it’s golden goal. So if you score it’s over, and then we go to P K’s and I’ve been in two PK shoot outs and I actually really enjoy them like we did one when we played Texas and the big 12 tournament and we won and then George Tell me one, but I think they’re like, really fun and exciting. Like especially we practice them a lot and so it’s kind of fun just to get out there.
Yeah. Did you ever miss like during those either of those two pkh you know No I did not knock on wood. Good Yeah,
there’s no way you a dream left or right or do you have a Is there a strategy that you can share? Like she can’t share that I mean figured as much but maybe you’re gonna tell him you know nobody listens to the show. We’ll see. Go ahead the USA soccer Olympic team. They had his disappointment. Did you follow that? Do you have any thoughts on the lady? USA team?
Um, yeah, I did it was it was definitely I mean, they did a great job they got a bronze medal so like it’s not like it was absolutely terrible or anything like they did an amazing job but it was definitely disappointing not seeing them win gold.
Last question, we have one really big question but you the fourth, there’s a rumor circulating in Fort Worth that we might be getting a protein may 4 Arlington. Somewhere in that in those were about student Do you know anything about this? Have you heard these rumors?
I have not heard those rumors. But that’s really exciting. I think Fort Worth, especially at our games, we see a lot of people come out and I think it would be great for the city to have another soccer team to support. Okay, great.
Well, we know you got family and we know that’s really important. But we always ask our guests this question too is with family aside and in some of those really personal moments, what was what was the best day of your life thus far?
I would say winning the big 12 championship that day was insane, beating West Virginia. Like I can’t even I can’t even put into words how amazing I was.
Well, you seem like a lovely lady. We appreciate you what you’re doing at school. wish you all the luck in the world. Thank you for joining us on fortitude where we’ll follow up, continue. Follow your progress. And we’re here in support of you guys. Thank you. Thanks, Grace. Thanks for being here.