Viera attends U-20 Women's National Team training camp
Scappoose alumnus Ariel Viera has relished the chance to follow in the footsteps of some important role models while at the national soccer team's U-20 camp in Carson, Calif.
For former Indian soccer star Ariel Viera, the stage just got bigger. A lot bigger.
Viera, along with fellow Portland Pilot Allison Wetherington, was called to attend the U.S. Under-20 Womens National Team training camp this week in Carson, Calif.
The camp is in preparation for the CONCACAF U-20 championship, which will be held in the Cayman Islands in January, as well as a first step for players hoping to make the U-20 Womens World Cup team for the summer of 2014.
It will be the first time playing with the national team for Viera, who was a solid piece on defense for a Portland team who made the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Illinois on Nov. 22. Viera led the team in minutes played, starting every match for the Pilots and picking up an honorable mention from the West Coast Conference, as well as being named to the all-freshman team.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Pilots that opened up the opportunity for Viera, as players still competing in the NCAA tournament were not considered for the camp. The invitations for Viera and Wetherington, who has seen time with the national team in the past, came just days after Portland gave up a two goal lead and fell 4-3 in overtime.
Portland got off to a 2-0 lead in the match, thanks to goals from senior Micaela Capelle and freshman Danica Evans. Vanessa DiBernardo pulled a goal back for Illinois in the 53rd minute, but Parkes Kendrick picked up a rebound and put it in the back of the net to give the Pilots a 3-1 lead with 31 minutes remaining.
Thats where the run started to fall off for the Pilots. A foul near the edge of the 18 yard box awarded a penalty kick to Illinois in the 69th minute, and another PK with 6:31 remaining pulled Illinois even at three goals apiece. The match went to overtime, where either team can win on a golden goal, but the period belonged to Illinois. The Fighting Illini knocked in the controversial game winner, a strike from Jannelle Flaws after Illinois pounced early on a Portland free kick, to sink the Pilots.
The loss still stings, but discovering that she was being considered for national team duty might have helped to take the edge off the defeat.
I didnt know how to react at first because we literally just got back to the hotel from the tough loss against Illinois, said Viera, But once it finally sunk in I was ecstatic about the opportunity being given to me.
Viera said she has always looked up to the Portland alumni, many of whom have seen time with the U.S. Womens team in international play.
Following in the footsteps of Portland alumni, who I consider great role models, who have had this same opportunity is an incredible experience, she said. Being it is only my first camp I have learned a lot about myself as a player. And its not every day you get the opportunity to try out for a team that will be representing our country!