Jan. 3, 2012
LOS ANGELES - While many of her teammates are in the midst of off-season training programs, LMU freshman midfielder Amanda Dudley is starting off the New Year competing internationally as a member of the Puerto Rican U20 National Team.
Dudley, previously a member of the Puerto Rican U17 national squad, joined the U20 squad just a day after Christmas to begin training at the Bayamon Soccer Complex in Puerto Rico for the Caribbean Football Union U20 World Cup Qualifiers, which will take place in Cuba from January 5-12.
Puerto Rico will be competing in Group F along with Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. The winners of Group E (Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica) and of Group F, as well as one runner-up from both groups combined will qualify for the CONCACAF Women's U20 Tournament - the final round of qualifying for the 2012 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup - which will be held in March of 2012.
The 2012 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup will consist of 16 teams and take place in the summer of 2012 in Uzbekistan.
The Yorba Linda, Calif., native who attended Mater Dei High School and played for the SoCal Blues club team, took some time during her travels to Puerto Rico to answer some questions about the opportunity to compete internationally for Puerto Rico.
LMULions.com: How did you first get involved with the Puerto Rican National Team?
Amanda Dudley: The Puerto Rican National Team sent representatives to California in search of players. They happen to be holding tryouts at the field where my club team (the SoCal Blues) trained, so I went to tryout. Myself and a few other girls from the states made it including a girl from Texas, Florida and one of my old teammates. We then traveled to PR in the summer and played in Trinidad and Tobago for the World Cup Qualifiers.
How did you come to be selected to the U20 team for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers?
AD: The team now has a new coach this year and they called back the girls that came last time that were still eligible to play along with some new girls.
LMU: How does competing with the national team compare to playing collegiate soccer at LMU?
AD: Competing with the national team and competing with the LMU team is very different. Not only is there a language barrier (the last coach only spoke Spanish so we relied on our teammates and the assistant coach who spoke English for direction) they also have a different style of play than LMU does. We are also dealing with a totally different culture than we are used to so it is altogether different.
LMU: How does it feel to be selected to compete for the national team?
AD: I feel very lucky and proud to have been given this opportunity. It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to represent Puerto Rico.
Check back to LMULions.com as we continue to follow and stay in touch with Amanda during the qualifying games.