Julio Moncada has been making waves in the NCAA with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and in the Premier Development League with the OKC Energy U23, but given his background with Honduras Youth National Teams, his success comes as no surprise.
The forward, from Puerto Cortes, Honduras, has been playing the game since he was 4 years old. Moncada came up through the ranks of hometown club C.D. Platense – now known as Platense F.C. – and in 2017, the talented 16-year-old earned a spot on the roster of the Honduras Under-17 Men’s National Team at the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Jamaica.
Since then, Moncada has pioneered north to chase his professional and international aspirations. The 22-year-old moved to Canada to compete and study at Champlain College Saint-Lambert before joining the Seahawks ahead of the 2015 college campaign. Moncada, who was hospitalized for an extended amount of time that season while recovering from stomach surgery, only featured in one game. Ahead of the 2016 campaign, however, he was named captain of the team and went on to earn first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors after scoring eight goals and providing three assists in 17 appearances.
“Last season was my first one here in the States,” Moncada told USLPDL.com. “I had the opportunity to play all of the games, and I was the captain because I was one of the older players, so that helped me build leadership skills.
“I guess some of the guys looked up to me because I had a little bit more experience than most of them, even though at first, it was my first year and they maybe thought I wasn’t going to do that well, but I worked really hard to get back to a good level after surgery, and I think the hard work paid off.”
Photo courtesy of Steven Christy / Energy FC
Moncada has one more season of eligibility remaining for the Seahawks. Wanting to build upon an impressive fall, the forward looked to the PDL for more high-level competition and exposure. He joined the Energy U23, winners of the 2016 Mid South Division, and has continued to turn heads.
“Many guys use the PDL to become a professional, and that’s what I want,” Moncada said. “I graduate in December, and I think playing in the PDL was a great opportunity for me to prove that I can do something and go to the next level.”
Moncada has three goals – a team-high – and two assists so far this PDL campaign, helping the Energy U23 to a 7-0-0 record. The forward is ranked 30th on the second edition of the 2017 PDL Top Prospects list – which serves as a valuable resource for professional clubs who are interested in identifying and scouting high-level players – and has been named a PDL Team of the Week Honorable Mention twice (Week 3 and Week 5) this season.
However, the humble Honduran does not think he would be as successful without his team, who he says is filled with talented players.
“We have guys that compete. No one knows who is going to be in starting 11 for the next game, so everybody is healthy, everybody competes,” Moncada said. “I think it’s the healthy competition that keeps us trying to win every game – everybody here has a winning mentality.”
While Moncada has traveled far from home to pursue his soccer career, the talented forward continues to remain in contact with his federation.
“I always keep in touch with them, and I’ve been talking to all of the coaches right now because they helped me with my international transfer so I could play in the PDL,” Moncada said. “So, I got another chance to speak with them, tell them a little bit about me and what I am doing right now.”
And right now, Moncada is excelling, hoping his success will carry him to the professional level and beyond.
“I think that’s the dream of every kid – to represent your country, do a good job and make it to the World Cup,” Moncada, who has also earned call-ups to the U-20 team, said. “That’s the goal and the dream. I have it on my mind, and I know that if I work hard, I’m going to accomplish it.”