Photo submitted by Lisa Mazur
Menchaca makes commitment to Schreiner University
Five-year-old Frankie Menchaca sprinted toward his parents, tears falling from his eyes.
He’d just scored his first goal in the San Marcos Athletic Youth Soccer Organization. The cheers from the crowd were so loud he turned to his parents and deserted the pitch out of fear.
On April 11, Menchaca turned to his parents again, smiling this time. The now-senior signed a letter of intent to join the Schreiner Mountaineers soccer team in Kerrville.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to keep playing,” Menchaca said. “And I never knew I would get the chance to keep playing collegiate soccer. So, I’m just blessed to have that chance.”
The midfielder’s passion for the sport was inherited from his father, Francisco Menchaca, Sr. Francisco grew up in San Marcos and had a dream of one day playing soccer in college, too. But at the time, there was no team at the high school, no club teams in the area and no real way for him to get noticed.
“Back then, I used to have to borrow soccer shoes from other people because Mom and Dad couldn’t afford to buy me a pair,” Francisco said.
The next best thing Francisco could do was find a way for his children to make it. He’s always been a fan of C.D. Guadalajara, also known as Chivas, a football team in Mexico’s top-level league, Liga MX. His fandom helped plant the seeds for the young Menchacas to grow into budding soccer players.
Frankie enjoyed other sports, too, though. In middle school, he opted to try out for the football team. A previous head injury prevented him from making the team on offense or defense, but the coaches offered him a spot on special teams as the kicker. Frankie agreed.
He stuck with both sports throughout middle school and high school. When Lisa Mazur arrived at San Marcos as the new boys’ soccer head coach and football kicking coach in Aug. 2017, she could see the potential his feet had. She could also see how willing he was to work to make himself and those around him better.
“I was going to meet the kickers in the (student activity center) because it was right when football was gonna start,” Mazur said. “So, I met him and (then-sophomore punter) Alfredo (Hernandez) both at the same time. I was just trying to get acquainted with the place and meet the kickers and (Menchaca) was so helpful. He’s like ‘Coach, whatever, you need, I’ll help you.’”
Menchaca put in the same effort as soccer season rolled around. As Mazur tried to establish a foundation with the team in her first year with the Rattlers, Menchaca encouraged his teammates to adapt to the changes.
Mazur thought Frankie could have played at the collegiate level in either sport. She encouraged him to go the football route.
“I think he’s a very good field goal kicker, I think he’s equal (at that),” Mazur said. “I told him ‘Frankie, you could be a walk-on at UTSA. You never know, it could happen there.’ Because I always thought kicking — man, he was a great kicker. But I think his heart and passion was more into soccer. He just loves soccer, he loves playing the game.”
Frankie's mind was already made up. It had been since his older sister, Michelle Menchaca, graduated from San Marcos in 2012 and went on to play for Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio as a defender.
“I saw my sister go to college to play,” Frankie said. “I look up to her, so I just said, ‘I want to do something like her.’”
Frankie liked the small, beautiful campus of Schreiner as well as the coaches of the team. Some of his former teammates from his select club were planning on committing to the Mountaineers, too, making Menchaca’s decision much easier.
Seeing two of his children become college soccer players has been a dream come true for Francisco. He's bought each of his kids their own pair of cleats. They’ve put them to good use.
“I feel like he picked up what I left behind,” Francisco said. “He’s going to follow what I couldn’t do. And that makes me very proud of him. Me and his mom are really proud of this kid. He’s come a long way.”
Frankie still has farther to go. He wants to gain weight and contend for a starting spot next season. But he’s no longer fearful of finishing his goals.
“Ever since I was little, my dad was always big around it,” Frankie said. “Ever since then, it’s been a passion. And the older I get, my ambition gets bigger and bigger.”