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Player of the Year: Ogden’s Peregrina orchestrated prolific soccer season for state-champion Tigers

By Patrick Carr - Prep Sports Reporter | Nov 10, 2023
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Ogden High School senior Nevaeh Peregrina poses for a photo outside the school. Peregrina is the 2023 Standard-Examiner All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
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Ogden's Nevaeh Peregrina handles the ball against Morgan on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, in Ogden.
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Ogden High School senior Nevaeh Peregrina poses for a photo outside the school. Peregrina is the 2023 Standard-Examiner All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
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Ogden High School senior Nevaeh Peregrina poses for a photo outside the school. Peregrina is the 2023 Standard-Examiner All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
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Ogden High's Nevaeh Peregrina (13) celebrates with teammates after scoring the only goal in the 3A state championship game against Morgan on Saturday, Oct 23, 2021, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.
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Ogden's Nevaeh Peregrina (13) pursues the ball in a 3A quarterfinal match against Carbon on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ogden.
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Ogden's Nevaeh Peregrina secures the ball against Morgan on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, in Ogden.
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Ogden High's Nevaeh Peregrina (13) and Bella Gray (10) exchange possession during the 3A girls soccer state championship game against Morgan on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023 at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Nevaeh Peregrina strikes the ball against Ben Lomond on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, at BLHS in Ogden.

OGDEN — For four years, Nevaeh Peregrina has left a huge footprint on the Ogden High girls soccer program as a creative, attacking midfielder with the flamboyancy of someone who could talk the talk and walk the walk on a soccer field.

She’s been a reliable goalscorer, a selfless distributor, never shied away from calling her shot before scoring outrageous goals from the corner flag — or purposely directing a goal celebration to opposing student sections.

The difference in her senior year, compared to the other three, has to do with demeanor. Peregrina still had all the technical ability, field vision and understanding of soccer that propelled her to prominence a couple years ago.

As a senior, though, and after an offseason of inward realization, she chilled out a little.

“This year I was kind of more like, ‘Let loose, let’s have fun. If I miss, let it go, learn from the mistake and play again,'” Peregrina said.

“I feel like this year, at least, I was definitely a lot more fun on the field. Last year, I was definitely like soccer, stern, like no laughing, not having fun, just play.”

It didn’t take very long for Peregrina or the Tigers to have a good time on the field. Peregrina scored two goals in their second game of the year, ended with 29 goals and 19 assists for the season and is the 2023 Standard-Examiner All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

She pulled the strings for a talented and experienced Ogden team that racked up an 18-2 season with a 3A state championship, an unbeaten Region 13 title and a 127-14 goalscoring margin.

Ogden head coach Ryan Robinson said if Peregrina was a different type of person, she would have scored 39 or 40 goals.

“I mean, she had 19 assists, the vast majority of those were inside the 18 (yard box) where she clearly could’ve got the goal for herself if she wanted,” Robinson said.

Instead, Peregrina sent the ball to her teammates. Ogden had four double-digit goalscorers: Peregrina, Ruth Larsen, Kate Pulley and Bella Gray, plus five more players who scored four ore more goals.

“I’m there to create the space and make the plays happen and give our opportunities to our forwards to go score, so I think I did really well this season with all that,” Peregrina said. “But also like, as a senior, I feel like I stepped up and was able to get those girls a person to kind of look up to and give them that kind of model.”

Peregrina started as a freshman for an Ogden team that lost in the 4A championship against Ridgeline in 2020. As a sophomore, she led the team in scoring and netted what was basically an Olimpico goal in a 1-0 win against Morgan in the 3A title game.

Last year, a very cold rain storm swept in during the 3A final against the Real Salt Lake Academy charter high school. Peregrina, Ogden’s leading scorer, got hypothermia and missed the second half of the game. The Tigers lost in a penalty shootout.

This year, she led the team in goals and assists as the Tigers won their third state championship in five seasons.

“A lot of times, you have 10 moving parts out there and what you really need is one person to put us all on the same page,” Robinson said. “And when she’s at her best isn’t necessarily when she has the ball on her, it’s when she’s clearly directing where the ball needs to go and the whole team is in synch and a lot of times — it’s very cliche-ish, it’s like an orchestra.”

Peregrina scored two and assisted two in both quarterfinal and semifinal playoff wins. The 9-1 semifinal win over Juan Diego stood out for more reasons than just the fact that Ogden mercy-ruled its opponent in the state semifinals, with Peregrina scoring the game-ending goal.

“I feel like we actually played soccer this year. The way we moved the ball, especially in that (Juan Diego) game, I had so many people come up and tell me that that was our best game that we’ve ever had,” she said. “Which I quite literally agree because we were just moving the ball so well and Juan Diego’s a great team, too.”

In the 3-1 championship win over Morgan, Peregrina played as the typical midfield distributor while Gray and Pulley ran riot on the Trojans.

“As a 10, I feel like there’s a lot of pressure to go score, but also make those plays, so I feel like that’s why I’m really proud of the amount of goals I had, but also proud of the amount of assists I had as well,” she said.

Before her junior season, Peregrina was in the middle of a stressful college soccer recruiting process and had played with the Team USA U-16 National Team in Sweden earlier that year, too.

She subsequently felt a lot of pressure and stress coming into and during the 2022 Ogden girls soccer season, and felt like it affected her play.

“All eyes, I just feel like, were definitely on me … I’d have people personally come up and tell me like, ‘You have to win it for the team,’ and I was like, ‘What? There’s 10 other players on the team, it’s not just me,'” Peregrina said.

Mentally, she visualizes soccer games in her head the night before. Despite being a prolific soccer player, her mental visualizations would include her missing all her shots, or the goal being smaller than it actually is.

Over the offseason, Peregrina had a lot of conversations with her parents and soccer coaches, and read books about athletes’ mental health to try and get her out of her self-described funk.

Through that, plus the college recruiting and Team USA aspects not playing a central role in her summer, helped change her demeanor ahead of the 2023 season.

Last October, she verbally committed to the University of Portland for college soccer, picking the Pilots over Gonzaga and Oregon State.

Between academic and athletic scholarships, she has a full-ride to Portland and said she plans to graduate high school early and enroll at Portland this coming January.

“Especially getting a scholarship and my family not having to pay a single dime for that is just something that I wanted so bad, because we don’t come from a lot,” Peregrina said. “So if I didn’t get a scholarship, I don’t know how likely it would’ve been if I — academic or athletic, I don’t know how likely it would have been if I could go to college.”

She wanted to go west for college; Portland wasn’t super high on her list until she visited the campus and almost immediately realized this must be the place.

“I always thought it was BS when people said like, ‘you literally will know, you will know when you know.’ Oh my gosh, did I know,” Peregrina said.

As she thought about the last four seasons, Peregrina still thinks it’s a little crazy that she’s heading to college in four months. It’s not something her ninth-grade self might have imagined.

But if Peregrina had 60 seconds to go back in time to give advice to ninth-grade Nevaeh, it would be things like: keep having confidence, put effort into every practice, cherish the time with Ogden because it goes fast, improve from mistakes but don’t dwell on them and — the “biggest thing” — don’t get hypothermia.


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