Aug 5, 2014 12:40 AM
Colorado College women's soccer will add another impressive chapter to its storied history in July 2015 when it competes as Team USA at the World University Games in Gwangju, Korea.
CC, which played host to the first collegiate championship in 1980, was selected by the United States International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF) as the first full collegiate women's soccer team to represent the United States in the prestigious biennial event that is second only to the Olympic Games.
"This is such a great honor for our program and players," Head Coach Geoff Bennett said. "It is every player and coach's dream to wear the red, white and blue, and represent the United States in International competition. I know our players and staff will do everything in our power to represent the USA to the best of our abilities."
The Colorado College side will include 20 players, all of whom must be U.S. citizens. Only current athletes or recent graduates, born between Jan. 1, 1990, and Dec. 31, 1997, are eligible for the 2015 Games. The team will live in the athlete village.
"What a tremendous distinction for Colorado College and our student athletes," said Jill Tiefenthaler, CC's president. "This great opportunity for our players to represent the United States underscores the strength of our women's soccer tradition as well as the college's expanding global reach."
The Tigers, who celebrate their 30th season in the NCAA Division I ranks in 2014, won their second consecutive C-USA regular-season title with an 8-1-1 mark and claimed its first-ever postseason crown with a 3-0 victory over North Texas in the championship match.
Colorado College made its 11th appearance overall in the national playoffs last fall when it played host to Duke University. In addition to the two championship matches in '86 and '89, the Tigers reached the national semifinals five times during a remarkable stretch that once produced eight consecutive NCAA bids from 1984 through 1991.
"The opportunity to have a top-ranked program like Colorado College representing the USA on the global stage will be a game changer for us," said Craig Jonas, Deputy Head of USA Delegation. "Having a team that has played and practiced together for months leading into the games is an opportunity USA teams don't normally get. The quality of competition will be unprecedented for the program."
The Tigers will be one of 16 sides expected to compete in the 11-day tournament. After pool competition is completed, the top teams from each pool will be seeded for bracket play which will determine the medal winners.
During the qualification and knockout rounds, each match consists of two 45-minute halves. If the score is tied after regulation, all games except the Gold Medal match will be decided by a penalty shootout. If final match is tied after regulation, that game will continue with two 15-minutes overtime periods. If the game remains tied, the winner will be decided by penalty shootout.
The World University Games is the American term for "Universiade," an international multi-sport event organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The Universiade, which began in 1959, is an international sporting and cultural festival, staged every two years in a different city around the world, representing both winter and summer competitions.
"It is a wonderful honor to have our soccer team chosen to be Team USA at the World University Games," said Ken Ralph, CC's athletics director. "It will be a great opportunity for our players to show their skills on an international stage while representing their country. For our players, coaches and staff, this will be the experience of a lifetime."
The Summer Universiade consists of 10 compulsory sports with 13 compulsory disciplines and up to 3 optional sports chosen by the host country. The record figures are 10,622 participants in Shenzhen, China, in 2011 and 174 countries in Daegu, Korea, in 2003.
Embracing FISU's motto of 'Excellence in Mind and Body', the Summer Universiade incorporates educational and cultural aspects into 12 days of sports competitions, allowing university student-athletes from all over the world to celebrate with the host city in a true spirit of friendship and sportsmanship.
The United States will be represented by as many as 550 athletes competing in up to 21 sports, which will be the largest American contingent in the history of the Games. At the 2013 Games in Kazan, Russia, the U.S. sent 400 athletes and staff, and finished sixth overall with 40 medals.
The US-IUSF is the governing body for the United States and represents all American athletes participating in FISU events. US-IUSF was granted official recognition by the FISU General Assembly at the 1967 Tokyo World University Games under the original name of the United States Collegiate Spor ts Council (USCSC). The USCSC name was changed to US-IUSF in 2005.
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