Written by: 
Erin Cristales
Photography by: 
Ahna Hubnik

Amélie Faa loves to put things into practice.

That's part of the reason the freshman midfielder on the women's Mean Green soccer team chose biomedical engineering as her major -- it's an opportunity, she says, to apply knowledge in a hands-on, life-changing way. It's also how, at 16, the Frisco native has become the youngest-ever player in program history while also juggling a full schedule of Honors courses.

"It's all about practice and persistence," Faa says. "In soccer, you have to put the time in whether you're on or off the field. And in school, you have to put the hours into studying and understanding what you're learning in the classroom."

Faa, who began playing soccer when she was just 3 years old, took part in FC Dallas' U.S. Soccer Development Academy, where she was ranked by TopDrawerSoccer.com as one of the top 11 players of their 2019 playoffs. She also was a starter on the FC Dallas U-16 squad.

And though she received scholarship offers from Southeastern Conference schools, UNT's soccer program drew her in. Though UNT's soccer and volleyball seasons have been postponed until spring, Faa is already making her mark on the field -- and in the classroom.

"I thought I'd feel a little lost at first," Faa says. "But I'm really liking this college environment. I feel like this is where I'm meant to be."

Academic Wins for Volleyball

The North Texas volleyball team in July earned the United States Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award, which honors volleyball teams that maintain a year-long grade point average of at least 3.30 on a 4.0 scale. North Texas finished the 2019-20 academic year with a 3.70 cumulative GPA and had 10 women reach the President's List while the remaining four worked their way onto the Dean's List.

This is the ninth USMC/AVCA Team Academic Award the Mean Green have received in the last 10 seasons. North Texas also was awarded the C-USA Sport Academic Award in July for posting the highest GPA among all C-USA volleyball squads.

Tennis Earns All-Conference

For a ninth straight year, the North Texas tennis team earned all-conference honors. Sophomore Maria Ponomareva was named Conference USA Newcomer of the Year and second team all-conference. Additionally, the Mean Green's top doubles team of Hala Khaled Badwy and Alexandra Heczey earned second team all-conference recognition. For the senior Heczey, this was her second straight season earning all-conference doubles honors.

By the Numbers: 3,000

That's the number of seats reserved for students in Apogee Stadium as a way to help combat the spread of COVID-19 while also providing opportunities to enjoy the fall football season. There are roughly 6,000 seats available in the bowl of the stadium, leaving 3,000 for fans after students are accommodated. Season ticketholders had the opportunity to claim those seats as part of a priority points system based on previous ticket purchases and donations.

Several on Watch Lists
Jaelon Darden
Jaelon Darden

North Texas senior receiver Jaelon Darden was selected to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented annually to the most outstanding player in college football. He also was selected to the Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List, and he was announced as a member of the Reese's Senior Bowl Top 250 in August. The Reese's Senior Bowl is described as the nation's most prestigious college all-star game, serving as the first step of the NFL draft process. Darden, a 2019 first team all-conference selection, led the Mean Green in every major receiving category and was among the nation's most productive receivers.

Senior defensive lineman Dion Novil was selected to the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree and the Outland Trophy. Novil is coming off the most productive season of his career, which led to all-conference honorable mention honors. He finished with 61 total tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks at nose tackle in 2019 for the Mean Green.

And redshirt senior receiver and kick returner Deion Hair-Griffin was selected to the preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy. Hair-Griffin is active within the Denton community and plays a major role within North Texas athletics' SAAC organization (Student Athlete Advisory Committee). He was the national leader in kick return average at 40.8 yards per return in 2019 and earned second team all-conference recognition.

2020 Mean Green football schedule

  • Oct. 3 vs. Southern Miss
  • Oct. 10 vs. Charlotte
  • Oct. 17 at Middle Tennessee
  • Oct. 31 at UTEP
  • Nov. 7 vs. Louisiana Tech*
  • Nov. 14 at UAB
  • Nov. 21 vs. Rice
  • Nov. 28 at UTSA

*Homecoming game

Get tickets: meangreensports.com

Check for the latest ticket and Return to Play information: meangreensports.com

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