Sept. 28, 2004
LOS ANGELES - UCLA women's soccer player Mary Castelanelli recently became the third Bruin player called up to the Under-19 U.S. National Team in preparation for this November's U-19 World Championships in Thailand.
Castelanelli, a sophomore defender from Lodi, Calif., was originally supposed to be in camp with the U-19s over the summer, but was unable to attend due to a back injury. UCLA's Stacy Lindstrom and Stephanie Kron are already on the team and, although the preliminary roster has already been finalized, she will get a chance to earn an open roster spot during a camp this week in Florida.
"Being a former national team coach, I know what a great opportunity this is for Mary," says UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis, the former coach of the Under-21 U.S. Squad. "I always make it a priority to let players represent their national teams because I truly believe it is the highest level a player can reach for. The fact that Mary has worked so hard at her rehab to get into this camp, is a real testament to her competitive nature."
UCLA, ranked No. 7 this week with a 6-2 overall record, has been shorthanded since the season began. In addition to Castelanelli, Lindstrom and Kron, the Bruins have also had several injuries, including goalkeeper Sarah Lombardo and freshmen Theresa Oda-Burns and Melissa Briggs. Starting forward Iris Mora has played in just two matches after missing time due to playing in the Olympics with the Mexican National Team.
"It's definitely been a challenge this year with the injuries and having players missing for national team commitments," says Ellis. "Despite that, I'm very happy with where we are headed and proud of the players who have stepped up and performed well."