July 9 2004

Santos’ “Diamond in the Rough” Has World Cup Dreams

By John Philip Wyllie

The WUSA may be gone, but quality women’s soccer is alive and well in America’s Finest City. The San Diego WFC Sea Lions (4-4-3), a top level amateur team boasting two former WUSA players and lots of local collegiate and prep talent is hoping to fill the void. One of the Sea Lions youngest players is Mexican U-17 national team member, Aurora Quiroz.

“Like me, Aurora grew up in the neighborhood will call the barrio,” said Sea Lions head coach “Papo” Santos. “She was a very good player in her neighborhood and she thought that she could just come in here and do the same thing.”

Arriving at the Sea Lions camp with what Santos described as “a major attitude” he had to first break through her veneer of toughness and open the lines of communication.

“Her attitude prevented her from learning, but I could see that she had talent. She was like a diamond in the rough,” Santos said. “She is not that big, but she is not afraid to compete against anybody. She is very aggressive, reads the game very well and has very good skills. She needs to work a little bit on her speed, but two or three years from now, like several of our younger players, Aurora will be very good.”

Aurora Quiroz

Playing left flank midfield on Sunday’s Fourth of July 3-3 draw against the front running California Storm, Quiroz held her own against players such as Sissi, Brazil’s former captain, Keri Sanchez, a former U.S. national team player and Emily Burt, who like the other two, played last year in the WUSA.

“Playing against (well known) players such as Sissi and former WUSA players is no different. It was just like a normal game for me, but I have learned a lot from them” said the 16-year old Quiroz who attends Preuss School UCSD in La Jolla. “I try to do a lot of the things that they do so that I can raise the level of my game.”

Quiroz has been a part of Mexico’s youth national team system for nearly two years.

“I have traveled with them and played in several tournaments over there. Our team has scrimmaged against Mexico’s U-19 team, but not the full national team, at least not yet,” Quiroz said. “It is my dream to someday play for Mexico’s full national team and I think I can do it.”

Quiroz isn’t the only Hispanic player on the Sea Lions roster to have represented her country in international competition.

“Isela Medina has played for the Mexican U-19 national team. She is a natural defender and is probably the best of the three at the moment,” according to Santos. “Amanda Esquivel is younger and she plays for the Costa Rican U-19 national team. She is also a defender and she is really coming on. She might someday turn out to be the best of the three.”

The Sea Lions have four remaining games in July: 7/17 @ 5:00, 7/18 @ 3:00, 7/24@ 5:00 and 7/25@ 3:00. Home games are played at Hoover High School located at 4474 El Cajon Blvd. For additional information please go to: www.sandiegowfc.com

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