[MEXICO]Saying the U.S. national team program had no place for a player with her talents, All-American midfielder Teresa Noyola, considered one of the country's most skillful young players, has become the second Stanford star to join the Mexican women's national team.
While Noyola, a junior, previously represented the USA at the 2010 Under-20 Women's World Cup in Germany, teammate Alina Garciamendez, a product of Texas, played for Mexico's U-20s in Germany and its full national team in Concacaf Women's World Cup qualifying.
Noyola's decision means she's eligible to represent Mexico at the 2011 Women's World Cup. She debuted for Mexico at a four-team tournament in Brazil in December.
The junior out of Palo Alto (Calif.) High School was born in Mexico City, moved to the United States at age 3 and is a dual citizen. Noyola’s parents, Pedro Noyola and Barbara Bayardo, met as undergraduates at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico and moved north when both were accepted into graduate school at Stanford -- Pedro in economics and Barbara in education.
“During the past three years, while playing on different teams in the U.S., I’ve felt that the system and style of the U.S. program is not a good fit for me,” Noyola said. “On U.S. youth programs, when push comes to shove, coaches in the U.S. will resort to a more direct game, in which they don’t really see a place for me. With Mexico, what I’ve seen is that the coaches promote keeping it on the ground and commit to breaking a team down with combinations and skills, even if the going gets tough. It fits right in with how I think soccer should be played, and how I try to play my game.”
Noyola said the switch wasn't easy.
“It was a hard decision because I had some great experiences with the U.S. youth teams and learned so much with the U.S. program,” she said. “I do recognize Mexico’s weaknesses, mainly a lack of commitment to physical fitness and the never-say-die mentality that U.S. players are ingrained with. I think Mexico can learn from some of that, and improve in those parts of the game. They have the other tools in place already.”
Noyola and Garciamendez, who had been recruiting Noyola to play for the Tri Femenil, will travel to camps in Mexico City every other Wednesday through Sunday and embark on a spring trip to Europe in preparation for the World Cup.
“I returned to Mexico almost every summer until I was 15 or 16 when soccer began taking over,” Noyola said. “I’ve always wanted to go back. The culture, the people, the food. I’ve missed Mexico.”