Gomez-Junco Makes Soccer Program History
BATON ROUGE - Tiger junior Natalia Gomez-Junco made history with her two appearances for Mexico at the 2013 Algarve Cup held last week as she became LSU's first footballer to earn an international cap at the senior level while competing against Wales and Portugal in the event held March 6-13 in Algarve, Portugal.
The 20th edition of the Algarve Cup was held at Nora Stadium as teams from 12 nations competed in the round-robin tournament hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation.
Gomez-Junco cracked Mexico's starting midfield in a 1-0 defeat to Wales on March 8 before coming off the bench in the second half to help seal a 3-0 shutout of Portugal on March 11. Mexico opened up the prestigious tournament with a 1-0 shutout of Hungary on March 6 to finish as the top team in Group C with six points.
Mexico ended the week-long tournament with an eighth-place finish after dropping a 3-0 decision to Denmark in the seventh-place match played on Wednesday of last week.
While the Tigers have featured past, present and future standouts representing such teams as the United States, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand at the U-15, U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels, Gomez-Junco becomes the first player in program history to represent her country at the senior level while making her debut with the Mexican Women's National Team.
"Playing for our full national team was both an honor and an incredible experience for me," Gomez-Junco said. "This experience has helped me realize what I need to improve and work on to reach a world-class level. I've had a great experience in the youth level, and now I have to take that experience to the senior team and be an impact player at this level.
"Playing for my country at this level for the first time gives me the motivation to keep working hard so I can get called up again in the future."
Gomez-Junco has earned a reputation as one of the top young scorers emerging in the Mexican Women's National Team system. She scored two international goals with her experience at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in matches against South Korea in 2010 and New Zealand in 2012 while making seven appearances for Mexico in the event.
She was also Mexico's leading goal scorer with six goals in its World Cup qualifier at the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Association (CONCACAF) Football Qualification Tournament held in Panama prior to the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.