Aalicia Arizona Mitchell has signed her letter of intent to play women’s soccer at Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas.
She will be the first in her family to go to college on an athletic scholarship. According to the college, she will be the first full-blooded Navajo to sign at the collegiate level for football in Oklahoma.
“It feels really good,” said Mitchell, who is Nát’oh Dine’é Táchii’nii and born for Áshįįhí.
“I’ve been playing soccer for 14 years and I always thought about playing soccer at a higher level and now I can,” she said.
Originally born in Tolani Lake, Arizona, Mitchell grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Despite the distance, she remained close to her family and the Navajo culture, her grandparents prayed for her in the Navajo tradition.
His legal parents are Kat Mitchell and Lance Williams of Birdsprings, Arizona.
His grandparents are Katherine Mitchell and the late Norman Yazzie of Tolani Lake. His paternal grandparents are Nellie Monroe and Howard Yellowhair of Tolani Lake as well as Mary Jane and Kee Woody Belone. Her nalis are Julie and Robert Williams from Birdsprings.
Mitchell’s friends at school called her by her middle name, which caused her to be locally nicknamed “Arizona”.
The first time Mitchell got into football was when she was in elementary school. She and a friend, Lauren, started kicking the ball at each other and when the boys started saying the girls couldn’t beat them at football, they were wrong when she and Lauren passed them. From there, they started playing for schools and clubs, sometimes playing against three clubs at once and facing a variety of opponents ranging from little kids to 19-year-olds. Playing against such opponents is what she says helped prepare her for high school.
From there, football became his passion. She dreams of turning professional like her icon Alex Morgan. Watching Morgan play, mixed with his own motivation, inspired Mitchell to play his hardest.
“Football is really like family or chemistry,” Mitchell said. “Especially on and off the pitch, whenever I play I basically play with a whole family and it gets better the more you play together, when you win more games and score more goals.”
Football taught her the importance of good sportsmanship, keeping track of her grades, being a good leader and much more about herself.
She believes her greatest strength is her footwork and vision on the court, being very technical and tactical on the court.
When she arrived at Ardmore High, she threw herself into her studies so she could continue acting. She usually played centre, midfield or right wing for the team. The women’s soccer program had just started at school, often Mitchell would practice with the more experienced boys’ team to maintain her skills as the girls’ team gained a foothold.
She would earn achievements in and out of academic groups like the National Honors Society, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Next College Student Athlete Network.
The last two years, however, have been difficult with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools were briefly closed and Mitchell said it was difficult to study chemistry and calculus from home, but she was able to persevere and maintain her grades.
Gyms and soccer fields have been closed, but Mitchell is using home equipment to stay in shape and has maintained his skills by teaching his little brother how to play.
When the school reopened last year, Mitchell was ready to go, but the team was uncoordinated and they had to relearn how to work together.
However, these setbacks did not prevent them from qualifying for the state, making school history. She also earned an all-district honorable mention in her freshman year, sophomore year, and freshman year.
Rewards for this season have not been announced.
In his senior year, the team lost its chance to advance to the playoffs by one point, but with his purse, Mitchell will be able to continue playing.
She plans to study pre-physical therapy and sports training.
Although she is nervous to be on her own, hours away from home, she is excited to begin the next stage of her journey in both education and football. She has already met the coach and the football team and thinks they will work well together.
“I would like to thank my whole family,” Mitchell said. “Especially my mom and my grandparents, my sister and my brother, for believing in me and pushing me to this next level and getting me where I need to be, bringing me the things I I need for football. It really meant a lot.