Alabama Soccer Making a Splash at 2015 Women’s World Cup
While Alabama is producing talent on the football gridiron, softball and baseball diamonds, and gymnastics, there are two Tide soccer players getting a chance to compete at the highest level of women's international soccer.
Merel van Dongen, former Tide midfielder, is suiting up for the Netherlands this summer. Van Dongen suffered a season-ending knee injury late in 2013, but was able to bounce back and help lead the Tide during the 2014-2015 season, eventually setting the single season assists record at Alabama with 10. Van Dongen will wear number 15 for the Dutch, and has made five international appearances for the Netherlands with one goal.
For Spain, newcomer Celia Jimenez Delgado will be representing Spain during the Women's World Cup set in Canada this summer. Celia, as she is known on the Spanish national team, will be a transfer from Iowa Western Community College next season for the Tide, helping lead them to two national championships. Look for the star 19-year old as she sports the number 2 for Spain in their first ever appearance in the Women's World Cup.
The Netherlands defeated New Zealand on the first day of the competition 1-0, and Spain will take on Costa Rica at 3:00 in their first match of the tournament.
Neither of the two will face the United States in the group stage, as they would only see the Yanks at the earliest in the first round of the knockout stage (final 16 teams). The Americans are in Group D, and the Dutch and Spain are in groups A and E, respectively.