Sandia High football player makes big debut with team USA 16 U

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David Mapalo loves the game of football with a passion. 

“God has always given me a drive and a passion for the game,” said Mapalo.

Last weekend, Mapalo got the biggest taste of the game he has ever experienced. The Sandia High sophomore suited up as a defensive back for the Team USA 16 U team in the International Bowl.

Team USA won the game 29-22 and Mapalo helped turn Mexico away in the closing minutes of the game with a pass breakup. 

“I did good in the game,” said Mapalo. “I had about six tackles, a couple of pass breakups. I think that I performed well.”

Mapalo wouldn’t have even been associated with the game if he hadn’t found out about it on social media.

 “I was on Instagram and I was following this one kid,” said Mapalo. “He was on the national team and I asked him, ‘How did you get there?'”

Mapalo found out that he would have to complete a couple of tryouts against players from all over the country.

Mapalo tried out and made the team. It opened up a whole new world for Mapalo, who hopes to continue with the Team USA program in the future. 

“They’re great athletes,” said Mapalo. “It’s a different world out there. They’re bigger, stronger, faster, taller, and it was just a great experience to go against athletes of that caliber. The coaches have taught me so much that I am going to bring back to Sandia…and a culture of winning. So, just expect a lot next year.”

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