By John Philip Wyllie
Former Bonita Vista High School and SDSU goalkeeper, Linnea Quinones is delighted that her Mexican national team has scheduled a pair of matches this weekend against the U.S. U-21 team in Chihuahua.
With the WUSA combine she will be attending in Fort Lauderdale now less than a week away, Quinones couldn't be more pleased with the timing of this weekend's competition.
"Practicing on my own and against local club teams is
helpful, but it will be great to get in two solid games against
some top level competition," Quinones said.
Following the weekend series in Chihuahua, she will be off to Florida on Wednesday. There she will compete against the top collegiate and semipro netminders in the nation. She hopes to be one of the goalkeepers selected by one of the eight WUSA women's professional soccer teams.
Quinones was thrilled to learn while in Charleston earlier this month during Mexico's two-match series against the full U.S. national team that she had become one of the chosen few. She will face an even greater hurdle once she arrives in Fort Lauderdale.
The list of invited candidates reads like a Who's Who drawn from the nation's collegiate powerhouses. Among the in-vitees are Notre Dame's Liz Wagner, Clemson's Katie Car-son and Penn State's Emily Oleksiuk.
While Quinones' SDSU Aztecs where relative minnows in the realm of women's collegiate soccer, Quinones has done something that the other candidates can only dream of. During the '99 Women's World Cup, Quinones was, at 19, one of the youngest players in the largest women's sporting event ever held. Despite receiving little help from the porous Mexican defense, Quinones played courageously throughout the tournament and made some outstanding saves.
A pair of her Mexican national team teammates, are currently listed on the rosters of two of the league's teams. She and Notre Dame's highly regarded converted defender Monica Gonzalez, would love to add to that number. Realizing the shortage of available positions and the intense competition expected for each of those few coveted jobs, Quinones is realistic about her chances.
"My coach at "State" attended the combine last year," Quinones said. "She has been giving me some pointers and telling me what to expect. I'm excited. I plan on going down there and playing hard. If I don't get drafted, there are still the individual team tryouts. So, I'll keep training and go to one of those. In the worst case scenario, I'll just train for another year and try again."