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    Matther Nocita: From Major League Soccer to Marine Corps Officer

    Matt Nocita

    Photo By Sgt. Michael Virtue | Matt Nocita, center back for the United States Naval Academy men's soccer team, passes...... read more read more

    ANNAPOLIS, MD, UNITED STATES

    09.25.2023

    Story by Cpl. Michael Virtue 

    Communication Directorate             

    Matthew Nocita always dreamed of becoming a U.S. Marine, but when an unexpected door opened for him along his journey, he jumped at the chance to continue growing as an athlete. Nocita, a native of Los Angeles, California, fell in love for the game of soccer when he was only five years old. His mother was his first soccer coach, and started the domino effect of what would later become his career.

    Unlike many children who play sports in their early years before moving on to other pursuits, Nocita’s passion for soccer did not diminish; it only became stronger as he grew older. “When I’m on the field playing so much, what I’m doing at this point is second nature,” said Nocita. “It’s a very freeing feeling when you are in that state of total confidence and trust in yourself, and the muscle memory takes over.”
    When he was thirteen years old, Nocita was playing club soccer in Los Angeles. During this time, his uncle, retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. David Dise, was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and would often visit him, sharing stories about his Marines and his time in the Corps. Being exposed to the different lifestyle that his uncle lived inspired Nocita to pursue the same path as a future career. “Visiting him throughout the years, I remember every time we’d leave after a visit. I wouldn’t stop talking about how badly I wanted to be a Marine to my parents,” said Nocita.

    In 2018, Nocita wanted to continue playing soccer at a high skill level but still serve his country. The Naval Academy was the perfect fit. “I remember watching nearly every video on YouTube or online article about life at the Academy while in high school, waiting to hear about my admission status,” said Nocita. “So, when my letter of acceptance arrived, it was definitely a moment of relief and elation simultaneously.” He played all four years for the Naval Academy, appearing in 59 games and tallying six goals and two assists as a defender. As the same time, he worked hard to gain and maintain the military discipline he knew he would need to become an officer in the Marine Corps.

    Near the end of his senior year, Nocita’s coach informed him that Major League Soccer scouts were interested in him, and invited him to participate in drills and practices. Ultimately, Nocita was drafted in the first round by the New York Redbulls, who took him with the seventh pick of the 2022 MLS SuperDraft.
    “My Mom was my very first coach when I was a little kid, so for her to see me continue my career in the MLS is a big accomplishment for her,” said Nocita. “It would’ve been impossible for me to be where I’m at today without her love and support all these years.”

    Nocita plans on taking this journey one day at a time, and emphasizes that he doesn’t see MLS as his end goal. Instead, it is an opportunity to take advantage of before advancing to The Basic School for Marine Corps officers in Quantico, VA. He hopes to receive a combat arms-related job and looks forward to taking on the challenge of leading Marines with the same passion and dedication that has fueled his success in soccer.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.25.2023
    Date Posted: 09.28.2023 13:59
    Story ID: 454194
    Location: ANNAPOLIS, MD, US
    Hometown: LOS ANGELES, CA, US

    Web Views: 197
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN