For Jessica Miclat, Playing in TST Means Spending Time with Friends, Having a Chance to Win $1 Million, and Networking

Southern California native Jessica Miclat is a part of the Angel City team heading to North Carolina this week to play in TST, an exciting 7v7 soccer tournament.

06/05/24  •  262 Views

Women's Soccer
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TST, aka The Soccer Tournament, is coming back this summer. Just like last summer, it will be at WakeMed Soccer Park in North Carolina, and will run from June 5th to 10th.

 

Because of the immense success last year, the tournament is being expanded with more teams, and will also have a separate women’s tournament. Last year, it was 32 teams in one tournament, while this year, it will be 48 teams for the men’s tournament and eight teams for the women. Both tournaments will have a $1 million prize tag.

 

One of the players that will be entering the tournament is Jessica Miclat, a Southern California native who has international experience playing for the Philippines women’s national team, as well as playing club soccer in Europe with teams from Sweden, Denmark, and Cyprus.

 

After a season in Sweden, Miclat has been back home in Ontario, California where she’s been training. When she heard that Angel City, an NWSL club based in Los Angels which is just 35 miles from Ontario, is looking for players for TST, she immediately jumped at the opportunity.

 

Now, the 25-year-old is heading out to North Carolina this week to play in the 7v7 tournament, where she not only has the chance to win the $1 million prize with her team but also play in a fun tournament with her friends and make new connections in the soccer world.

 

“I am super excited. I’ve been talking a lot with girls on our team and a couple of other friends playing on different teams. It’s gonna be fun playing with each other and against each other,” Miclat told GOLZ TV in an interview.

 

“A million dollar is a lot of money, winning that is nice and is a big deal. But at the same time, my goal there is to perform well enough for my team and for myself. I know a lot of eyes are gonna be on this tournament.”

 

“[As professional players] we are constantly working towards the next contract and you never know who’s watching. So I want to put myself out there and perform my best.”

 

“I also want to grow the game. I am super honored to be a part of this because this is the first year the women have their own bracket. So to be a part of that is very special to me and I am honored to grow the women’s game and put that on the global platform.”

 

“I hope a lot of people watch and support. I know there are a lot of men’s teams and men’s soccer is exciting but I promise women’s soccer is exciting as well. I think we are all gonna put on a good show. Our team is like a sleeper team but I always like to be the underdog so that motivates us more.”

 

“A lot of people ask if I am nervous and I get nervous in a good way, like butterflies in your stomach you get from excitement. I just want to play and I can’t stress enough that it’s gonna be a good environment and a good opportunity.”

 

It really will be a great opportunity for someone like Miclat, who is looking for a new club after leaving Eskilstuna United in Sweden. TST will feature a bunch of current professional players, former players who now work for various clubs, and representatives and scouts of clubs across Europe and North America who will be paying attention to players.

 

There are more opportunities than ever for women’s soccer players. More money is being invested in Europe and also in North America, where two new leagues are launching soon— the USL Super League in the U.S. and the Northern Super League in Canada.

 

As a Californian, playing in a North American League and being close to home could be a tempting idea. For a half-Mexican like Miclat, the idea of going to the rapidly growing Liga MX Femenil is another attractive option.

 

However, she is open to any club that offers her a good project, and although staying close to home sounds nice, the idea of continuing her career in Europe is still on the table.

 

“Personally, I am more of an opportunist. I don’t have a preference on being close to home or Europe,” the 25-year-old said.

 

“Obviously at this stage in my professional career, I know what I deserve as a player and what the standards in women’s soccer should be. So if an opportunity presents itself and the conditions are up to par, then I would consider whether it’s in Europe or back here in the States.”

 

“My last year in Sweden was really good. It was the first year in my career being at a club where they treat the women’s players with high respect and the conditions were really good compared to my past experiences.”

 

“It’s always nice to be close to home and play in front of friends and family, that’s an opportunity not a lot of people get to have. I haven’t played in front of friends and family in three years as a professional.”

 

“So it excited me to hear about the USL Super League. If it’s on the same level as the NWSL then it’s a great opportunity to grow the game and great for girls who didn’t get the chance with the NWSL.”

 

“The Mexican League is growing. I know a lot of friends who play there and I’ve only heard good things about it. So If I get the opportunity to play in that league, I’d definitely consider it. I don’t have a specific landing spot.”

 

“As a women’s soccer player, when an opportunity comes up, we have to think quick and jump on it. I hope that I do get a contract soon though since it’s been a while since my last contract. I can only control what I can control and be ready when the time comes.”

 

Miclat played the entire 2023 season with Eskilstuna United and has been out of contract since November. Prior to that, she spent time in Cyprus with Aris Limassol and in Denmark with AaB.

 

Before turning professional, she played for UC Irvine with Scarlett Camberos, a Mexican international currently with Bay FC. 

 

Transitioning from playing in a sunny Southern California in front of friends and family to becoming a professional in Denmark away from everyone was far from easy, especially back in 2021 with the lockdown and restrictions going on. Miclat opened out about those difficulties. 

 

“At first, it was a lot to take in. It was overwhelming,” she said.

 

“You’re not gonna see your friends and family for nine months, but you gotta do what you gotta do in this profession. Thank God for FaceTime, it helped with the homesickness aspect. Luckily my roommate was also from California so I had a little piece of America with me in a foreign country.”

 

“But my time at Denmark wasn’t the greatest experience. The coach that brought us on was half Danish half American, but we got destroyed in the first game and he got sacked. The new coach they brought on did not like Americans at all, so that played into my experience the rest of the season.”

 

“You can’t expect things like that, it can just happen in the drop of a hat. But that is a good lesson on what this profession is all about.”

 

She does have some valuable advice for aspiring soccer players in the U.S., who want to go have an adventure in Europe and try to make it as a professional.

 

“I don’t like to sugarcoat things, I went through tough times. It’s not all peaches and rainbows,” Miclat said.

 

“My advice would be to embrace that. If you’re sad, be sad because it’s normal, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

 

“I spoke to my family a lot but not everyone has that support, so it’s just finding different ways of help and support for yourself.”

 

“For me when I got sad, walking in the city and listening to music helped me clear my mind. It helped dial me back into why I was there and the job I was doing. So doing different things like that to remember the bigger picture will help a lot.”

 

After three years in Europe with three different countries, the midfielder now has a good amount of experience in the professional world and knows exactly what she wants in her next club.

 

Playing in the upcoming TST will give her the opportunity to play competitive soccer again, and give her opportunities to network with players, coaches, and club representatives. 

 

Angel City are in the same group with The U.S. Women, Wrexham Red Dragons, and Streetball FC Canada.

 

The top two in each group will advance to the semifinals and the winners will reach the final for a chance to take home the ultimate prize—$1 million.

 

You can watch Miclat and Angel City play live on ESPN. The women’s tournament will begin on June 7th and end on the 10th.

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