[WOMEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING] One Californian, Veronica Perez, scored the goal for Mexico that cost the USA at automatic berth into the 2011 Women's World Cup. Another Californian, goalkeeper Anna Picarelli, stands in the way of the USA and a trip to Germany next year.
The action begins Saturday in Padua, where Italy hosts the United States in the first leg of their playoff series (ESPN3.com, 10:30 a.m. ET).
Picarelli, 26, attended Pepperdine and qualified to play for Italy thanks to her Italian-born father Angelo.
Despite her 5-foot-4 frame, Picarelli has stood out in goal for the Azzurre, helping them beat England, 2-1, at the 2009 European Championship and Ukraine and Switzerland in the European Women's World Cup playoff after Italy fell to France.
After the England game in Finland next year, she went into the stands to celebrate with her boyfriend, Cameron Thomas, who immediately got down on his knees and proposed.
Picarelli and Thomas now live in Southern California, where she plays for the WPSL's Ajax America.
This follows stints in Italy with Verona and Sweden with Kristianstads DFF.