APSU Sports Information Office
Bogota, Colombia – Former Austin Peay State University soccer standouts Natalia and Tatiana Ariza will answered the call today, Monday, July 28th, as they try to make the 20-player Colombian roster for the South American Championships, prelude to the 2015 Women’s World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics.
Tryouts run through August 9th, at which point Colombia head coach Fabian Taborda will make his final roster cuts.Should the former Lady Gov stars remain on the roster, their next step in qualifying for next year’s Women’s World Cup, held in Canada, will be the 2014 South America Women’s Football Championship, a 10-team tournament hosted by Ecuador, September 11th-28th.
Las Chicas Superpoderosas are part of Group A with Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and host Ecuador.
Stakes are high for the Colombians in this event. The top two teams qualify directly for the World Cup, while the third-place team will play a qualifying playoff match against the fourth-place side from the CONCACAF region. In addition, the winner – or runner-up if Brazil wins the tournament – will qualify automatically for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The top four sides also qualify for the 2015 Pan American Games in Canada.
The twins earned useful international experience before and during their time at Austin Peay, participating in the 2012 London Olympics and the U17 and U20 World Cup’s with the Colombian National Team. Tatiana made the cut for the senior women’s squad that played for the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany, but the then-20-year-old did not appear in a match.
Both Ariza’s were four-time all-OVC performers for Austin Peay from 2010-13, with Tatiana earning 2012 OVC Offensive Player of the Year honors and finishing as the program’s all-time leading scorer. They were part of a senior class that went 48-27-5 – the best four-year stretch in program history – and led Austin Peay to its first two OVC Championship match appearances.
Upon graduation, the pair embarked on professional careers with the Houston Aces of the Women’s Premier Soccer League, leading the Aces to the semifinals of the WPSL Championship. Tatiana lead the squad with six goals on the campaign.
“We’re very proud of Tatiana and Natalia,” said Austin Peay head coach Kelley Guth. “On and off the field they have been tremendous ambassadors for Austin Peay soccer and we wish them continued success on the national and international level.”