STM's Got Talent Rebecca Pongetti: FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup
By: Daniela Olariu
Our very own STM student Rebecca Pongetti represented Canada at the 2012 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan. Prior to the Women’s World Cup, Rebecca prepared on her own for four years and for a year with the U17 soccer team. She practiced four times a week and even worked out on her "off " days, all while being supported by her family who encouraged Rebecca to pursue her dreams. Her coach, Ruben Flores, has been coaching Rebecca at a provincial level for three years. He showed her the fundamentals and taught her everything she knows today. Rebecca plays left center back and has played eleven international games with the Canadian team.
Rebecca left for Azerbaijan on September 11, 2012, where she and the other national teams had a ten-day pre-camp to adjust to the nine-hour time difference. The team played its first internationally friendly game against China on September 17th. The team then traveled to the capital city of Baku where it played its first tournament game on September 22nd against Nigeria in the Tofig Stadium. Rebecca's team tied 1-1 with Nigeria and two days later played Colombia. It was a successful game and the team won 1-0.
Two days later, they played Azerbaijan at the Shafa Stadium where they won again with a score of 1-0. They were second in their group stage and advanced to the knock out stage. The last game was against North Korea which, unfortunately, ended in a 2-1 loss. The girls played every minute of every game and gave it their all.
When they lost, Rebecca says, “We were heartbroken but felt pride that we did everything we could for our country, team, and ourselves.” Playing against these international teams was a valuable learning experience for Rebecca, one that she will use to her advantage in the future. Rebecca's team was the 4th Canadian team on the men’s and women’s side (any age) to make it to a quarter final in the World Cup. Outstanding effort and excellent soccer skills, Rebecca! STM is very proud of you!