Nicholas Holliday: 15-year-old Professional Athlete


Megan Michaels

Jordan freshman Nicholas Holliday is only 15, but he’s already a professional soccer player. Holliday, a goalkeeper, was promoted from NCFC’s Youth Academy in 2020 and signed with the Raleigh-based soccer team North Carolina Football Club, becoming the youngest player in the FC’s history. He renewed his contract in March and is getting about 30 minutes of playing time during the preseason games as the second-string goalie. 

The freshman says that playing with older guys has been quite a learning experience. “A lot of them have played soccer in Sweden, and other places all over Europe, so they give me lots of tips and tricks.” One notable thing he has learned from his teammates that sticks out to him is to “always have confidence.”

Even though his teammates are as many as 14 years older than him, the fifteen-year-old says the age difference doesn’t change their relationship much. “They will still yell at me and I will still yell at them, and we both have the same goal at the end of the day; just to win,” says Holliday. The older guys won’t let things slide without teasing him, though, as he’s the youngest on the team. “Whenever I mess up, they will make sure to get the clip of it and send it in the group chat so everyone knows,” Holliday adds. 

The stellar athlete got his start playing recreational soccer at four years old. “My parents always forced me to play soccer and they just made me keep playing sports because they wanted to keep me in shape,” he says. After playing Rainbow Soccer, he progressed to Triangle United until the age of 12, and then to NCFC at 13, and more recently in 2020, to North Carolina FC. He hopes to play in the English Premier League one day but says “I’m so young that if I get a start anywhere overseas, that will be good for me. I would love to play in England when I am old enough, but I have to start somewhere.” 

For now, Holliday will finish out his contract for the season with North Carolina FC, and start with a new team next season, Charlotte FC, a Major League Soccer team that competes at the highest level of professional soccer in the U.S. When the season starts, he will play for their Under-17 Academy team. 

Holliday is more than just a star on the field. Taking all honors and AP classes, he is a star student as well. “School interferes a little, of course, but I’ve worked around it,” the freshman says of the balance between academics and athletics. He adds that managing school and professional soccer can be quite a challenge at times. His parents “always made it known that school is more important than soccer,” so he is sure to prioritize his education.

This news may not come as such a shock to some, considering his older brother is Chris Holliday, who scored a perfect 36 on the ACT, graduated from Jordan last year, and now plays football for the University of North Carolina as well as being one of the University’s Morehead-Cain Scholars.  The younger Holliday says, “My brother’s success has motivated me a lot. I always looked at him as one of my role models. He managed to balance his grades while playing football.” 

Currently, Holliday practices from 9:30am to 12pm and has games on weekends. Some weekends he is home in the Raleigh-Durham area, and others he travels with the rest of the team to places such as Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Georgia. 

The goalie is maintaining college eligibility if he ends up deciding to play in college, because he signed an amateur contract, meaning he is not being paid for playing for North Carolina FC. 

To Holliday, professional soccer as such a young player is “a lot of fun.” He doesn’t see it as playing professional soccer, he claims; rather, every day he spends on with the team is “just another day playing the sport I love with my teammates.”