Congratulations to the latest PNJ Athlete of the Week winner, Sophia Nguyen from Pensacola High School!

Nguyen garnered 43.01 percent of the total vote in the PNJ’s weekly online poll. Each weekly winner is awarded a one-of-a-kind Athlete of the Week shirt provided by BSN SPORTS.

A sophomore attacking midfielder for the Tigers this season, Nguyen scored five goals – including a hat-trick against Wakulla – in Pensacola’s two 8-0 wins to open the 2020 FHSAA state tournament.

Though their season ended earlier this week with a region final loss in Jacksonville, Nguyen and the Tigers (15-5-1) were a breakthrough squad, reaching just the second region final in program history and advancing further than any other local program in the FHSAA state tournament this season.  

“I was definitely impressed with how we did and I’m really proud of the team,” Nguyen said. “We really stepped up this year and I feel like we all had fun doing it.”

Nguyen established herself as one of the area’s preeminent soccer prospects this year, finishing with 31 goals and 17 assists. Last offseason, Nguyen played with Pensacola FC Academy in the Women’s Professional Soccer League and Orlando City in the Elite Clubs National League.

While she can’t begin recruiting until her junior season, Nguyen said playing collegiate soccer is a “main” goal for her.

Florida State, which won the 2018 national championship and features former Navarre star Emily Madril, would be a dream opportunity according to the sophomore.

“I’ve been watching a lot of college soccer right now trying to scope out the teams,” Nguyen said. “I know the schools that I’m interested in… (Florida State star Deyna Castellanos) was really good and fun to watch.”

Outside of soccer, Nguyen can often be found at the beach where she’s just as competitive with her skimboarding talent.

Nguyen has won three consecutive United Skim Tour world titles. Her inaugural 2017 title, when she was just 14-years-old, earned her distinction as “one of the youngest title-holders of the history of the sport,” according to

Not bad for a sport that was once third on her list of preferences.  

“I always wanted to surf, but my mom didn’t want me out there by myself so I picked up skimboarding to be just a little closer to shore,” Nguyen said.

Check back next week for another edition of PNJ Athlete of the Week voting!

Eric J. Wallace can be reached at or 850-525-5087.