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Vega to join Mexican U20 National Team

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Photo by Brittany Gregory/Albany Student Press. The Great Danes will be without Vega for the rest of the season.
Photo by Brittany Gregory/Albany Student Press. The Great Danes will be without Vega for the rest of the season.

By Celia Balf

University at Albany women’s soccer rookie-of-the-year Vivian Vega has put her season here at Albany on hold to join the Mexican U20 National Team in CAR Centro de Alto Rendimiento in Tijuana, Mexico. Vega was invited to practice and tryout for the team in preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U20 Championship in December.

Vega is leading the UAlbany women’s team with six goals on the season. She is the primary scorer for the Danes, tallying up 22 points her freshman year and well on her way this year.

Vega heard the news from her mother, Susana Vega, who initially got the call from the Mexican Soccer Federation. The news was kept quiet until Vega made the decision to go through with the tryout.

“I was really excited when I got the call and soon after I started feeling a little nervous and worrisome because I was going to miss some of my college game,” Vega said. The Great Danes and Head Coach Caitlin Cucchiella stand by Vega’s decision, although they will miss her finding the back of the net for them.

“I am so excited and happy for the opportunity that Vivian has been provided. This is the highest honor that a soccer player can receive from their country. I wish her the best of luck and I am grateful to have her representing not only Mexico, but our women’s soccer program and the University at Albany,” Cucchiella said.

Vega was part of Cucchiella’s first recruiting class and came to Albany from Santa Ana, Calif. Vega’s national team debut started at the U17 level, making her the first UAlbany women’s soccer player to ever play at the national level.

“I feel the most prepared this time around because I feel I’m at my highest level right now,” Vega said.

Vega will return home for a couple days before packing up to train from Oct. 19 through Oct. 23. If Vega makes the final roster she will compete with the Mexican National Team in Honduras starting Dec. 3.

“I’m excited about getting the opportunity to represent the Mexican National Team and making my family proud. I’m nervous about going to a team I’m not familiar with,” Vega said.

The Danes will have to push through the remainder of the season without Vega. Best case scenario: she makes it and is back to join her team come playoffs.

The UAlbany women’s soccer team is 7-8-1 overall, and 2-3-1 in the America East Conference. Team Captain Alexa Schneider said the team couldn’t be happier for Vega. “The team is very excited for Vivian. Obviously we are going to miss her but this is an amazing opportunity and well earned,” Schneider said.

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