Seminole Soccer Spotlight: Excelling At The National Level
Aug. 13, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Attending those annual family reunions, hanging out at the beach with friends, taking classes and helping out at summer camps are just some of the ways members of the Florida State soccer team spent their time this past summer. But for two individuals, they had an opportunity of a lifetime. FSU's Becky Edwards and Mami Yamaguchi got the chance to represent their respective countries while playing the game they love the most on the international circuit.
Edwards had a busy summer leading the U-20 U.S. National Team to a silver medal at the Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 14-26. The Seminole defender, who is entering her sophomore season in 2007, was named to the 18-member squad as selected by head coach Jillian Ellis. Edwards started every game for her native country playing all 90 minutes in five of those six contests. She finished the tournament with 520 total minutes on the pitch.
The tournament featured two, five-team pools as the United States was paired with Paraguay, Panama, Argentina and Mexico in Group B. Group A included Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Ecuador and Uruguay.
The United States compiled a record of 4-2-0 in six games in Rio de Janeiro outscoring the opposition 17-10 en route to earning the silver medal. The U-20 team drew the attention of many world-wide as they defeated a pair of full national teams which included Argentina and Canada. The U.S. advanced through Group B with a 3-1-0 record defeating Paraguay (7-1), Panama (3-1) and Argentina (3-0) before falling to Mexico 3-2 in the final game of pool play. A trio of teams finished in a three-way tie at the top of Group B, but the Red, White and Blue captured first place honors with their +10 goal differential.
In the semifinals, the U-20 National team defeated Team Canada 2-1 despite being out shot 15-6 and held without a corner kick. Team USA frustrated the full Canadian National Team all game long keeping them scoreless until the 88th minute of play. The U.S. would hold on for the victory and meet host country Brazil in the gold medal match.
The Brazilians, who featured a majority of their full national team members, were too much for the young American squad capturing the gold medal with a 5-0 victory in front of a crowd of about 70,000.
Also this past summer, Yamaguchi participated as a member of the full Japanese National Team. Along with many teams across the nation, Team Japan is preparing for the 2007 FIFA World Championships in China which begin next month. Japan will play its first game of the tournament on September 11 as they square-off against Great Britain in Shanghai.
On July 28 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif., Team Japan and Team USA squared-off in an international friendly just a few weeks before the start of World Cup competition. Yamaguchi, who returns in 2007 as the Seminoles leading scorer, tallied four minutes of action against the U.S. The junior midfielder entered the contest in the 86th minute of play. The United States went on to defeat Japan 4-1.
Both Edwards and Yamaguchi will be in a Florida State uniform as the Seminoles open the 2007 season in Portland on September 1. The Seminoles will face the Pilots on opening day for the second straight season. Last year, FSU registered a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over then top ranked Portland in Tallahassee. Yamaguchi scored the game-winner in the 80th minute, while Edwards assisted on the Seminoles first goal of the game.