February 14, 2003

Quinones Faces Long Odds in WUSA Bid

By: John Philip Wyllie

On March 1, the WUSA women’s professional soccer league officially begins its third season. The best women players in the world will converge on the eight club training sites for a month of conditioning, scrimmaging and organizing prior to the April 5 kickoff of the 2003 WUSA season. Linnea Quinones a local product who has starred for Bonita Vista High, SDSU and the Mexican national team, hopes to be among the 144 players who make the final cut. It won’t be easy. It also may be out of her hands.

Quinones is at present still recovering from the broken fibula she incurred last May while training with the San Jose CyberRays. The prospects for a quick recovery are not good.

“I played on it for about three months before I finally went to the team doctor,” Quinones said. He confirmed her worst fear, it was broken. A long and often painful rehabilitation followed.

San Jose CyberRays, Brandi Chastain (left) and Linnea Quinones. Photo by J.P. Wyllie.

“I was in a full boot for three months and a walking cast,” Quinones recalled. “They also had me using a bone stimulator during that time to try and get the bone to (fuse) back together without surgery. Now it’s completely back together, but it is still giving me problems. It hurts mostly when I’m running, but occasionally it even hurts when I walk on it.” With the official start of training camp little more than two weeks away, and her roster spot in jeopardy, Quinones is in search of a miracle. The time that she should be spending on the field is being spent instead in physical therapy.

“I’m in physical therapy two hours at a time working on strength and stability twice a week, but they say it will just take time.” Time is the one thing Quinones does not have with a host of goalkeepers headed toward San Jose eyeing her job.

“I’m not happy with the fact that I have not been able to train as much as I had hoped. It’s been disappointing, but I’m going to go (to camp) and see what happens and then go from there.”

Fortunately for Quinones, the San Jose CyberRays is not her only team. She has started in goal for the Mexican national team since 1998. In May, Mexico will play an as of yet undecided team from Asia for a berth in the 2003 Women’s World Cup. And Quinones hopes to be there.

“I’m still hoping to play for Mexico, in fact, I just emailed our coach (Leonardo Cuellar) to get the schedule for the playoff series with the Asian team. I hope I am ready by then. That is my next goal regardless of how things go in San Jose. But even her job tending Mexico’s goal is no sure thing.

With Quinones unavailable for the Gold Cup last fall, Cuellar called upon Colgate’s Jennifer Molina. Molina responded by garnering honors as the tournament’s top goalkeeper. Quinones welcomes the competition.

“I’m glad that she is there now because in the past, I didn’t have much competition. Competition is what I like. I’ve been there and I have a lot of experience, but I definitely think they should go with the best keeper,” Quinones said. She, of course, hopes that will be her.

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