MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - Former Georgia College & State University midfielder Daria Owen (Snellville, Ga.) was selected to play for the Guyana Women's National Soccer team, a squad that this week will play in the 2010 Women's World Cup Qualifying games.
Because her father and late grandparents were natives of the country of Guyana, Owen, a 2009 senior on the Bobcat soccer team, was eligible to compete for the national squad. Guyana (pronounced gahy-an-uh) is located in northeast South America, between Venezuela and Suriname.
From Dec. 15-22, 2009, Owen participated in tryouts in Guyana as part of the "Guyana Overseas" team. The tryout team consisted of 27 players, ranging from 16-years to 27-years old, and mostly living in Canada, as Owen was just one of two United States players invited.
Her team competed against the "Guyana Local" and multiple squads from Suriname. After her team won both of its official games, the members were sent home. On Jan. 1, Owen received an email from national team head coach Mark Rodrigues asking her to accept a position with the team.
Owen has accepted the invite, and will don number-20 for the Guayana Lady Jags. A four-year member of the Bobcat soccer team, Owen picked up All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) honors as a second team midfielder in 2009. Owen finished her career with seven goals and 12 assists, the latter number good for second in GCSU history. An amazingly physical presence in the midfield, Owen controlled most of the action, helping to set up the Bobcat offense.
The Guayanese National Team takes on Suriname Wednesday, March 3, St. Vincent Friday, March 5 and Cuba Sunday, March 7.
A pair of quotes via email from Owen about her experience:
"My trip to Guyana in Dec 2009 was indescribable. The culture is rich, the food is amazing, and the people are so so friendly. As a new women's team, we have already influenced many girls and women to become involved in the sport in Guyana. The crowds that came out to see our games were live, and kept us all motivated. This experience is greater than I could have imagined, and I plan on making the absolute best of this rare opportunity!"
"Coach (Juan Pablo Favero), I would sincerely like to thank both you and (graduate assistant coach) Chris (Davidovicz) for helping to push me to my limits, and believing in the player that I can be and have become. I would also like to thank the girls for being so supportive, excited for me, and for challenging me over the years! Please let them know that, although I have moved on from GCSU soccer, my heart is still with the team! The reason why I'm here is because of the GCSU program, the place that helped me succeed and achieve this awesome accomplishment that I am so grateful for!"
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCSU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement.