Gaitan Beginning World Cup Experience vs. Sweden on Tuesday

Updated 6/27/2011
Story courtesy of Toledo Media Relations Department

TOLEDO, OH
- Toledo junior defender Natalia Gaitàn (Bogota, Columbia) is just one day away from playing in the biggest soccer match of her life. Gaitàn is serving as a team captain for a Colombia squad that will take on Sweden at 9:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 28 in the FIFA Women's World CupTM in Leverkusen, Germany. The match will be televised live on ESPN.

Colombia is making its first appearance in Women's World Cup and is also scheduled to face the United States on ESPN at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 2 in Sinsheim and Korea DPR on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 6 in Bochum.

"I'm excited for Natalia," Rockets' Head Coach Brad Evans said. "She has worked very hard to earn the right to play on the world's largest stage for women's soccer and there were 73,000 fans at yesterday's Germany vs. Canada game. She takes great pride in the way she represents her family and country and we all wish her good luck. Colombia has a young team, one of the youngest in the tournament and a tough draw, but I've learned never to count out Natalia and her team."

Said Gaitàn, "I am very excited about Tuesday's match and can't wait to play. Sweden is taller and faster than us, but we are prepared to play a very good game. We've worked on free kicks and other tactical areas as we know they will be very important for us."

Gaitàn possesses an abundance of national team experience and most recently played a key role in helping the U-20 Colombia National Team reach the finals of the 2010 South American Women's Soccer Championships and place fourth at the U-20 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.

Gaitàn is coming off an outstanding 2010 fall campaign wearing the Midnight Blue & Gold. She started every match on defense and was named to the NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-Great Lakes Region Second-Team, as well as earning a spot on the Mid-American Conference All-Tournament Team. Gaitàn was part of a UT defense that posted 10 shutouts and ranked second in the league in goals allowed (17), GAA (0.78) and blankings. The Rockets sported a 15-4-2 overall record in 2010, 10-1-0 in the league, en route capturing a share of its second MAC regular-season title in the last three seasons.