CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Goalkeeper Catalina Perez of the University of Miami soccer team has been selected to represent her home nation of Colombia in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
It will be the second consecutive year Perez is competing with the Colombian National Team in a major international competition, following the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
"It's every athlete's dream to go to the Olympics. I feel very fortunate to represent my country in Rio," Perez said. "I am very thankful for everyone's support toward making this happen. It hasn't just been a process of months; it's been a process of years."
Perez, a redshirt junior, has played with Colombia’s senior national team for several years. Last summer, she started the first FIFA Women’s World Cup knockout round match in Colombian history and did not concede a goal during her time in net against the United States.
The 5-foot-8-inch Perez played in 10 matches for Miami in 2015, making eight starts. She ranked third in the ACC in saves per game (4.60) and No. 10 in total saves (46), as well as fourth in conference play in saves per game (4.71) and seventh in total saves (33).
A graduate of St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Fla., Perez was the ESPN Deportes West Palm 760 AM 2015 Palm Beach County Hispanic Female Athlete of the Year.
Perez also garnered ACC Defensive Player of the Week, Top Drawer Soccer GK of the Week and College Soccer 360 National Primetime Player of the Week honors following her 106-minute shutout in Miami’s 1-0 double overtime victory against No. 14/4 Notre Dame.
“We are so proud of Catalina for making the Olympic team roster for Colombia,” Miami head soccer coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “This is a true testament to how hard Cat works and how dedicated she is to our sport. We couldn’t be more excited that one of our Canes is representing us on such a worldwide stage.”
Olympic soccer competition will run from Aug. 3-19. Colombia is in Group G along with France, New Zealand and the United States.
Colombia will begin play Aug. 3 at 9 p.m. ET when it faces France at Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.