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Speckmaier to Compete with Venezuela U-20 National Team at World Cup Qualifier
Monday, January 13, 2014 | by Matt Moretti III (@Moretts13)
Photo: Linwood Ferguson
Photo: Linwood Ferguson

FORT MYERS, Fla. – FGCU women’s soccer player Paulina Speckmaier has been selected to join the Venezuela U-20 National Team at the South American Championship being held in Montevideo, Republic of Uruguay Jan. 13-31. The event doubles as a qualifier for the 2014 U-20 World Cup that will be held in Canada.

Speckmaier (Miami Fla./Gulliver Prep/University of Florida) helped guide the Eagles in 2013 to a fourth-straight Atlantic Sun Regular Season Championship and a third consecutive trip to the A-Sun Championship match. The Miami, Fla. native scored five goals, three of which were game-winners, handed out three assists and finished third on the team with 13 points. Her efforts earned her spots on the A-Sun First Team and All-Rookie Team following her freshman campaign.

This will be the second time Speckmaier competes with this team. She also joined the roster at the South American Championship in Brazil in 2012. Speckmaier is one of just two players on the roster currently playing collegiately in the United States. The other is Michelle Clemente from North Carolina.

"We are excited for Paulina to have been selected to play for her country and wish her all the best as they go through qualifying" said FGCU head coach Jim Blankenship.

The top two teams at the end of the event will earn a spot in the World Cup. The tournament field is split into two groups with Venezuela competing out of Group A which includes Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay while Group B will be comprised of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.

Venezuela will play its first match on Wednesday, Jan. 15 opposite Colombia at 5:00 p.m. UYST (Uruguay Summer Time, EST +3 Hours) and will play four matches in the group stage. The team could advance to play two more matches should it rank in the top two slots in its group and those games would take place Jan. 28 and Jan. 31.

Colombia vs Venezuela - January 15, 2014 - 5:00 p.m. 
Uruguay vs Venezuela - January 17, 2014 - 7:00 p.m. 
Chile vs Venezuela - January 19, 2014 - 7:00 p.m. 
Brazil vs Venezuela - January 21, 2014 - 5:00 p.m.