By John Philip Wyllie
While it’s unlikely that former Bonita Vista High and SDSU goalkeeper Linnea Quinones will see any playing time during the regular WUSA season this year, the San Jose CyberRays rookie is not complaining. Her eyes are clearly focused on the future.
“It’s a little frustrating (not getting any playing time), but I’m young and there is still plenty of time. It’s fun practicing and getting to play with these great players every day,” Quinones said while signing autographs following San Jose’s 3-1 victory over the San Diego Spirit on Sunday.
One of those “great players” Quinones was referring to is Brazilian national team star Katia. The quick and crafty one name wonder single-handled derailed Kevin Crow’s Spirit coaching debut with a sizzling two-goal performance Sunday. While she and Quinones are teammates at the moment, once the Women’s World Cup arrives in the fall 2003, both will be representing their own respective countries.
While powerful Brazil should have no trouble qualifying, the fledgling Mexican team will once again rely heavily on the work of Quinones in goal. It’s a role Quinones embraces. She feels fortunate to have two defenders from Mexico’s national team training with her on a daily basis in San Jose. 1999 Women’s World Cup veterans Lisa Nanez and Gina Oceguera Eagleton are like Quinones, hoping to use their stint with the CyberRays to strengthen their skills for the next year’s WWC.
Qualification for the 2003 Women’s World Cup will based on the team’s 2002 Gold Cup performance. That tournament will kick off on October 27 at the Rose Bowl and conclude two weeks later at the venerable Pasadena landmark. The CyberRays three Mexican-American players will be expected to play key roles in shoring up Mexico’s defense.
“I love playing in the Rose Bowl,” Quinones said. “We’ve played some of our best games there. We may even be the “home team,” she quipped referring to the huge number of Mexican-American fans the stadium often draws.
Only the top two or three finishers will earn a spot in next year’s Women’s World Cup in China. Having been there before, San Jose’s Tricolores trio will be counted on for their leadership as coach, Leonardo Cuellar introduces more Mexican-born players on to his team.