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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


International implications

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

In early December, when most college students were preparing for final exams or planning their trips back home for winter break, Arizona soccer player Renae Cuellar was departing for a trip to South America.

Cuellar was invited to play for the Mexican National Team as it took on China, Brazil and Chile in international friendlies at the Torneio Internacional Cidade de São Paulo de Futebol Feminino. Beginning Dec. 4, 2009, 21 sophomores enjoyed the beautiful shores of São Paulo, Brazil, which is the third largest city in the world.

“”We mostly had two-a-day training sessions, but we did go down to (the) beach,”” Cuellar said. “”We did do some sight-seeing, we went down to a place where they served pure meat. It was very nice.””

During her three-week stay in Brazil, Cuellar trained with the team, all while gaining valuable experiences on the international level. In her first start during the trip, Cuellar had a two goals and an assist in the team’s 6-0 win against Chile.

“”Playing at the top level against the best players in the world is very beneficial,”” Cuellar said. “”The international game is more intense than the collegiate level.””

It was the second time in four months that Cuellar had to adjust her schedule to participate in international team competitions.

On Oct. 27, while the Wildcats were still in season, Cuellar left the Tucson International Airport on a Wednesday night flight to El Paso, Texas. The domestic flight was followed by a short ride to Juarez, Mexico, to play a Thursday evening game against the Canadian National Team.

After a tie with the Canadian team, the forward again made the short drive to El Paso to get some rest before boarding an early morning flight to meet up with her Arizona teammates for a weekend series against California and Stanford.

Though at times Cuellar has had a hectic schedule, it’s been an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“”It’s been a great experience,”” Cuellar said. “”I’ve been waiting for my chance to play for the national team. Being a sophomore, I think I’ve known how to handle it better than I would have as a freshman.””

Mexican National Team coaches have been impressed with Cuellar and hope to get her more experience with the program.

“”We like the way she plays, and we want (her) in our program,”” said Mexican National Team assistant coach Christopher Carlos Cuellar — no relation. “”We want to get her accustomed to our style of soccer and how we do things on the road.””

“”She’s shown that she’s dedicated,”” he added, “”and that she wants to play not only college soccer but take her career to the next level.””

Renae Cuellar was supposed to be in Honduras Jan. 19 – 31 participating in the Under-20 World Cup qualifying games, but conflicts with classes didn’t allow her to join the Mexican National Team for the qualifiers.

If the team qualifies for the U-20 World Cup, Cuellar will compete in Germany in July. But, before the World Cup, Cuellar will play with the Mexican National Team when they take on the U.S. National Team on Mar. 27 and 31 at a site which has yet to be announced.

“”I will definitely be hoping for my team to qualify, and I’m also looking forward to playing against the U.S. National Team in March,”” Cuellar said.

Whether the Mexican National Team will qualify or not is up in the air, but one thing is for certain: Cuellar will be a part of the National Team for the years to come.

“”We’re excited to have her as a part of our future,”” coach Cuellar said.

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