Perez A Hero For Mexican National Team
As a 2009 Husky graduate, Veronica Perez did the UW Women's Soccer Team proud last year when she was drafted in the fourth round as the seventh PAC-10 player selected for the Women's Professional League (WPL). Not only did Perez begin her professional career on the St. Louis Athletica team, but she joined the U.S. U-23 team as well. It wasn't until 2010 that she made the switch to begin her career on the Mexican Women's National team. In addition to her being a professional soccer player, Perez has also volunteered her time as an assistant soccer coach for the Huskies this year.
It is no surprise that the lines of loyalty blurred this past Friday in Seattle as Huskies everywhere took news of alum Perez scoring the game-winning goal for the Mexican Women's National team to upset the U.S. in a 2-1 victory in the 2010 CONCACAF Women's World Cup. November 5th, 2010 now marks an enormous occasion in the world of the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), as it is the first Mexican National victory over the U.S. in 26 matches. It also stands out as the first time the U.S. has failed to advance to the championships of a CONCACAF event.
While this was an enormous defeat for the U.S. team, coach Lesle Gallimore was not torn at all about her pride in Perez's contribution. Gallimore admits that although she is "clearly a huge fan of the U.S. and want[s] them to do well and to qualify, Veronica has worked really hard to make a name for herself in this game and for her National Team," and maintains that, "It was easy to be super excited for Veronica."
"Playing the US in Mexico was great," says Perez regarding the game, "we made history, and it was awesome to do it in front of our fans." Veronica gives credit to her right wing teammate who crossed the perfect ball that knocked perfectly off her head and into in the lower left corner of the goal past U.S. goal keeper Nicole Barnhart in the 27th minute. This brought Mexico to a 2-1 lead that they were able to hold for the remainder of the game.
Veronica insists that her team went into the game knowing that they had everything to win and nothing to lose, and recognizes the importance of the game stating, "If we won, we got an automatic bid, and if we lost we were going to have to play Costa Rica. We weren't going to lose."
This 'refuse-to-be-defeated' mindset proved to be exactly what these underdogs needed to pull through last Friday; the Mexican National team has now earned themselves a spot in the World Cup, which will take place June 2011. "We are excited to watch [Perez] in Germany next summer," says Coach Gallimore.
With the World Cup six months away Veronica and her teammates state that they plan to stay busy until then, "We have three tournaments leading up to it, and then after that we'll be in training camp." This epic win has energized the team and they are confident in maintaining the focus and confidence they now have in order to succeed in Germany next year.
Veronica herself says that she has had a great experience on the Mexican National team and has enjoyed her time there even if it has meant meeting the demanding travel excursions from Seattle to Mexico and back in juggling her volunteer coaching and career as professional athlete.
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