Cristian Mata grew up playing the game he loves in his hometown of Tulsa. Mata, a 2012 graduate of Tulsa's Union High School, amassed 70 goals and earned Oklahoma’s Gatorade Player of the Year award his senior year of high school. His jaw-dropping stats and goal-scoring ability were noticed by several colleges. Despite that attention, Mata decided to stay close to home and play at the University of Tulsa. Mata continued adding goals in the college ranks. He started 19 of 20 games as a freshman and would go on to record a team-high 14 goals. He followed it up with a sophomore season at TU where he started another 19 matches, racking up 10 more goals.