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.”