Portland Shockwave wide receiver Nicole Vilarino makes her mark in 2013

A three-year veteran of the Portland Shockwave, the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds in Vantaa, Finland marked her debuted with Team USA. At 27 years of age, the native of Medford, Oregon (she was born in Walnut Creek, California) has a lot of football left in what promises to be an exceptional career.

Nicole

With a desire to play football since she was 10 years old, her opportunity to grace the gridion came at the age of 24. Employing a desire to learn and the understanding that football is the kind of sport which always has room for improvement, her maturity serves her well.

Recognized as an IWFL All-Star in 2012, she was also the Shockwave Most Valuable Player along with being recognized as their Most Outstanding Player on Special Teams. For this 5’2” spitfire, it was prologue for the glory to come.

The opportunity to compete on the international stage in Finland was the validation of years of hard work towards perfecting her gridiron game. She would finish the 2013 Worlds with nine rushing yards, seven receptions for 69 receiving yards and a touchdown against Sweden.

As the 2013 season also represented the Shockwave’s first season in the Women’s Football Alliance, Vilarino was a key contributor in the club qualifying for the postseason. Finishing second on the club in receiving, her 31 tackles ranked third. In addition, she would rank second in interceptions, fumble recoveries and punt return yardage, respectively. The all-around effort would culminate in being named a First-Team WFA All-America selection.

One of the most intriguing facts about Vilarino is that she has a twin sister named Kelly who competes in Mixed Martial Arts, winning her debut at Budofights 6 in Bend, Oregon. For 15 years, the two competed on another field together. As teammates during a glorious tenure on the soccer field, the two played with the Rogue Valley Soccer Club Storm and at Southern Oregon University. While their athletic paths have brought them in different directions, both continue to inspire an entire generation of young women in Oregon to pursue their dreams.

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