When Brown University’s Nico Lozada reflects on his youth career playing in North Texas, his fondest memory is winning the 2011 Dr Pepper Dallas Cup in a match that was an all-North Texas final.
“I remember playing in Dallas Cup, and we were playing our local team rival Solar in the finals,” Lozada said. “We ended up winning 2-0, and winning that tournament was probably my fondest memory.”
The senior midfielder from Dallas has appeared in all but one match for the Bears and is currently third on the team in points with one goal and three assists. In late September, Lozada was named Ivy League Player of the Week after scoring a goal and dishing out an assist in a 2-1 win over then No. 20 Tulsa. The win was the program’s first since 2015. Lozada was also a 2016 All-Ivy Honorable Mention and led the Ivy League with six assists during the 2016 season.
“Growing up playing in North Texas, you are playing against some of the best guys in the nation. These are guys that you still hear about,” Lozada said. “When I was growing up I was playing guys like Kellyn Acosta, and that type of competition allows you to grow as a player and develop in general.”
Lozada experienced plenty of success on the club side, especially in the 2010-11 season, when Lozada’s FC Dallas side reached the semifinals of the North Texas State Cup, won a US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Premier League (SRPL) West title, a US Youth Soccer National League title and finished in third place at the US Youth Soccer National Championships. Lozada credits those tournaments as opportunities for him and his teammates to mature as players.”
“At regionals that year, it was the first time we started taking ice baths every night. So we would walk down the hall with the ice containers, get ice and then put the ice in the hotel bathroom tubs,” Lozada said. “We took the extra time out of our day to make sure we were prepared for the game the next day. It was a maturing activity. Now in college we have facilities and resources that saves time, but at that age, it was maturing for me.”
In addition to playing club soccer with FC Dallas, Lozada also competed in the North Texas Olympic Development Program (ODP) and attended one of the US Youth Soccer Region III ODP camps.
“With ODP the experience of going to a different state to play against players from different clubs in the region was eye-opening,” Lozada said. “You then come back to your club team with more confidence knowing you played against players that were the best in the region. It gives you a little more gusto.”
Ultimately, combining experiences playing club soccer with FC Dallas and playing ODP, Lozada had plenty of exposure to the best players in the country, which is something he feels prepared him to play on the college level.
“It’s funny, some of the players I played against at those tournaments, I play against now, and some are my teammates,” Lozada said. “So you know going into college you have played against the best and have beaten some of them. You know you are good enough to compete at the next level.”