[UNDER-17 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP]
Venezuela is making a name for itself as a rising South America women's power under Panamanian coach Kenneth Zseremeta
, who has led the Vinotinto into the semifinals of the Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
Venezuela, a 3-2 winner over Canada, will meet Japan in Monday's
semifinals in Costa Rica. The second game of the doubleheader will be an all-European affair: Spain-Italy. Quarterfinals:
Venezuela 3 Canada
Italy 2 Ghana 2
(Italy won 4-3 on penalties)
Japan 2 Mexico 0
Spain 3 Nigeria 0
Venezuela, had never reached the final eight of a FIFA tournament at any level,
came from 2-1 down after conceding its first goals of the tournament to beat Canada on goals by 14-year-old Deyna Castellanos
, Yosneidy Zambrano
and Gabriela Garcia
, who assisted on Castellanos' opening goal.
Castellanos, whose goal was her tournament-leading
fifth in four games, started playing when she was 4 years old after her brother's coach saw her kicking a ball around. She asked her parents if she could practice with her brother's team, and she was
soon scoring goals. Castellanos now plays for a school operated by Venezuelan star Juan Arango
, who plays for Borussia Moenchengladbach in Germany.
Reflecting the diversity of Venezuelan women's soccer, Escuela Juan Arango is one of 19 different programs represented on the 21-player U-17 roster.