Through at least early January, Briar Woods senior forward Lina Granados will be in Bogota, Colombia training with U-20 women’s national team coaches, hoping to earn a spot on the squad. Granados, who is in Bogota now, will study on her own and do her homework electronically, corresponding with her teachers through email.
Granados, who was born in Colombia but raised in the U.S. and is a dual citizen, was invited to train with the U-20 team two years ago but didn’t make the final cut. But she was only 15 years old then.
Two years older, Granados hopes this will be her chance to earn a spot on the national team so she can compete in the South America U-20 women’s championship, known as the Campeonato Subamericana, which will be hosted by Brazil in January. The top two teams will qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup which starts in August 2012 in Uzbekistan.
“We think she is better prepared and is more mature to handle it” than before, said Granados’ father, Francisco, in Spanish.
Lina Granados, a Vanderbilt recruit and 2011 second-team All-Met, is one of the area’s top returning soccer players. She’s a quick and creative scorer, who notched 12 goals and seven assists for the Falcons, who finished 13-5-2, losing in the second round of the Virginia AA Region II playoffs.
“It an incredible opportunity,” Francisco Granados said. “Not a lot people get this opportunity. We didn’t think anything would happen between all the stress and school and other club soccer commitments. But the coach in Columbia called and asked her to come and he wanted to see her play.”
According to Granados, his daughter is one of four players who live in the U.S. that were invited to the tryouts. The players train twice daily for two hours each. And if she makes the team just before the tournament, Lina Granados could be away from home through early February. But to her parents, it will be a vital experience for her next year in college.
“We think its a good test for her before Vanderbilt, where she’ll be travelling and having to keep up with homework,” Francisco Granados said.