Aug. 17, 2012
The Auburn soccer team will be without juniors Ashley Kotero and Bianca Sierra for the first portion of the 2013 season as the pair are in Japan for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. The defenders are a part of the Mexican National Team, which faces host Japan in the first Group A match on Sunday, Aug. 19 in Miyagi at 5:20 am CT.
"Since May we have been back and forth to Mexico preparing for the World Cup. From triple days to double days we have been putting the work in to be the best that we can be," Sierra said. "I have truly been blessed with this opportunity to represent my country in my second U-20 World Cup this summer. This is the experience of a lifetime and I'm ready to make history."
Sierra, who started all 24 games for Auburn as a sophomore as a center-back in 2011, played in the 2010 U-20 World Cup in Germany, where it advanced to the quarterfinals. The same is true for Kotero, who had three assists as a midfielder at Auburn in 23 matches last season.
Qualifying for the World Cup by virtue of a third-place finish in the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Qualifying Tournament in Panama this past March, the Mexican National Team has played in Buenos Aries, Argentina, and South Korea in preparation for this year's World Cup. Playing against the Argentinian U-20 National Team after training in Mexico since the middle of May, Mexico earned 1-0 and 3-0 wins in Argentina. The team then traveled to South Korea where it lost to China, 2-1, tied South Korea, 2-2, and defeated a local professional team, 3-0.
Mexico's Group A slate also includes games against Switzerland on Aug. 22 and New Zealand on Aug. 26. The quarterfinals begin on Aug. 30 with the semifinals slated for Sept. 4 and the Championship Match set for Sept. 8 in Tokyo.
Mexico won three and lost two of its games in CONCACAF qualifying, scoring 18 goals and allowing six in the process.
Mexico has taken part in four of the five editions of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup but has never advanced past the quarter-final stage.
Click here for more information on the U-20 World Cup