Wildcat Ponce gets look from Mexican nat'l team
Standout will join El Tri at tournament in China
Arizona Wildcat senior Jazmin Ponce is packing her bags for a trip to China.
She leaves next Thursday to join the Mexican national team as they prepare for the Yongchuan Cup. Three matches are scheduled for El Tri between Feb 11 and 15 in Chongqing.
“I am very excited,” she said in a text message on Facebook. “My dream is finally coming true.”
Ponce scored 10 goals in her final season with the Wildcats and earned PAC-12 Player of the Week honors after scoring a brace against USC in October.
“It’s a great opportunity for her. It’s always good to see our players play at the highest level,” said Wildcats coach Tony Amato. “It’s a week of training with some different players and some different coaches. We’re excited for her.”
Amato described Ponce as a “dynamic” player.
“It’s hard to find players that want the ball and want to be dangerous with it and want to make things happen in the final third and she’s one of those players,” he said. “She’s the kind of player that when the game is nil-nil and you need something to happen, she’s going to be dangerous. She’s going to take players on in the dribble. She’s going to take a shot.”
Ponce grew up in Southern California, but her parents are from Mexico. She received her Mexican passport last month.
It may be a new team for her, but she’ll have one familiar face: former Wildcat Renae Cuéllar. She’s already been assigned her as a roommate for her stay with the team.
“It will be good because we’ve played together before and we know how we play,” Ponce said.
It's not unusual for American born players to play for Mexico. Others that will be joining Ponce and Cuéllar include Alina Garciamendez, Anisa Guajardo and Amanda Perez.
The tournament will open Mexico’s 2014 campaign, which will include qualifying for the 2015 World Cup.
The first match for Mexico, currently ranked 25th in the world, will be against Korea DPR on Feb. 11, followed by China and New Zealand on Feb. 13 and 15.