Junior midfielder Nelly Mamabolo hasn’t been at ORU long, but she is already getting comfortable with a new team, a new school and a new country.
This is the first time the Polokwane, South Africa native has ever been to the United States. While the adjustment to a new country can be difficult for any international student, Mamabolo said her teammates have been there to help her every step of the way.
“They’re really nice, I like them a lot. They’ve been very supportive,” she said. “Anytime I need anything, I can just go to one of them and they’re there to help. The transition was a bit hard at first. I’ve been able to adjust, so I’m good now.”
Head Women’s Soccer coach Roger Bush is pleased with Mamabolo and the transitions she’s made both on and off the field.
“We love Nelly. She has said maybe two or three words to me since she’s arrived. She’s quiet, but it looks like she’s having a good time,” Bush said with a smile about his newest midfielder.
Mamabolo has played in all 10 of the team’s matches and has started in seven. She has five total shots this season.
One of the more unique qualities about Mamabolo may be her size. Standing at just 5’0, opponents often tower over her on the field, which has forced her to transition from a finesse style of play to a more physical style.
“I’m really tiny and short and they’re pretty aggressive during practice,” she said with a chuckle. “Physicality is going to be the biggest adjustment for me, but I’ll get there.”
The Golden Eagles’ playing style of pace and movement fits well with the skill set Mamabolo brings to the table.
Bush says the size difference shouldn’t be a concern, and Mamabolo can be a potential game changer for the Golden Eagles despite sometimes being the smallest player on the field.
“She’ll surprise you. She’s shifty enough to get out of harm’s way, but courageous enough to go win tackles and win the ball,” said Bush. “That’s one of the reasons we recruited her. We’re about trying to be quick. She’s a fabulous player and we think that she is somebody that can produce.”