5/30/2011 11:59:00 AM
OSLO, Norway -
Former Middle Tennessee soccer standout Lisa-Marie Woods has been named as one of 19 players to represent her homeland of Norway at the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which will begin June 26 and run through July 17 in Germany. Two additional roster spots will be announced at a later date.
"I am very happy to be a part of the Norwegian team for the upcoming Women's World Cup in Germany," Woods said. "The first step of being picked is reached and now I am working hard to make sure I can contribute in a good way. The team and I have a goal of getting a medal and with that also qualify for the Olympics in London for 2012. We know it is going to be a hard battle reaching that goal, but we are confident that if we play to our full potential, we will get there.
"I am very excited as this is my first big championship for the National Team, and I can't wait for the games to begin. The atmosphere is going to be amazing as the Germans have done an excellent job with the arrangement of the tournament already. I would not be surprised if this becomes one of the biggest World Cups in history.
"The level of teams has also developed tremendously the last couple of years and adds to the excitement. Nothing is better than playing the best of the best. It is all going to be a very valuable experience and I am going to work hard to try and make it a good experience. I am very humbled by and honored to get to represent my country in such a big and important tournament."
Woods, a native of the capital city of Oslo, played just one season with the Blue Raiders, in 2004, before returning to her home country to further her development with its National Team. She helped Middle Tennessee capture a share of the Sun Belt regular-season title in her only campaign in Murfreesboro.
She was named the 2004 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year, a first-team all-conference performer and to its all-tournament team. She started 12 of the 14 matches in which she played, tying for the team lead with nine assists and adding four goals for 17 points. She netted a pair of game winners and converted a penalty kick versus Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinals.
"This is such a great accomplishment for Lisa-Marie and I'm very excited and happy for her," Blue Raider head coach Aston Rhoden
said. "Lisa-Marie continues to work extremely hard at her game and has been successful at every level at which she has competed. She was very successful during her time here and helped us secure our first-ever Sun Belt regular-season title. I know she'll have a fantastic World Cup and I look forward to watching her represent Norway, herself and Middle Tennessee."
Woods joins a number of other Blue Raiders through the years who have represented their respective country at various levels, including Katie Daley, Kala Morgan, Fran Howells
, Shan Jones
and Hope Suominen
(Wales), Luisa Moscoso
(Colombia), Heidel Johannessen
(Norway) and Melisa Erturk
(Turkey). She is the first to compete in the FIFA World Cup.
She came to Middle Tennessee after a freshman season at Oakland (Mich.), in which she guided the Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament and garnered Soccer Buzz Freshman All-American accolades. She tallied six goals and seven assists for 19 points to be tabbed the Mid-Continent Conference Newcomer of the Year.
The FIFA World Cup, the most prestigious international soccer tournament, kicks off with 16 countries competing for the title. There are four groups of four teams each and Norway is slotted in Group D with Brazil, Australia and Equatorial Guinea.
Norway will begin group stage play June 29 against Equatorial Guinea in Augsburg in the first-ever meeting between the two countries. It will then face Brazil in Wolfsburg (Arena im Allerpark) and Australia in Leverkusen (FIFA Women's World Cup Stadium) July 3 and 6, respectively. All matches of the World Cup will be held in Germany.
After the group stage, the top two teams from each group will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals. The final is set for July 17 at the FIFA Women's World Cup Stadium in Frankfurt.
Norway, which won the 2000 Olympic gold medal and 1996 Olympic bronze medal, is currently ranked No. 9 by FIFA/Coca-Cola and coached by Eli Landsem. It owns a 19-2-7 all-time mark in the FIFA World Cup, having scored 75 goals and allowed just 36.
The country has won the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup and was the runner-up in the inaugural event in 1991. Norway is just one of three countries, joining the United States and Germany, to capture a FIFA World Cup crown.
The Norwegians knocked off Brazil, 2-0, to claim the 1996 bronze but are 0-2-1 in three matches since. Brazil owns a slim, 3-2-2 record in the all-time series.
Against Australia, Norway is 3-0-1 with the lone draw coming in the 2007 FIFA World Cup in China.
In addition to playing for the Norwegian National Team, Woods plays for the club team Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark.