Soccer adds mexican U-20 Piña to signing class

Soccer adds mexican U-20 Piña to signing class
Photo by, LSU Athletics Publications

POSTED: Sunday, March 18, 2012 - 2:45pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 1:36pm

The LSU Soccer program added to an already stellar recruiting class on Thursday morning as head coach Brian Lee announced the inking of Mexican Under-20 international Fernanda Piña to a National Letter of Intent as part of a heralded Class of 2012.

Piña bolsters LSU's 2012 recruiting class as she joins five prep prospects who signed with LSU as part of National Signing Day festivities on Feb. 1, including Haley Emerson of Fort Myers, Fla., Jade Kovacevic of Georgetown, Ontario, Canada, Colby Maffei of Tampa, Fla., Heather Magee of Colleyville, Texas, and Morgan Ruhl of Hereford, Md. They form one of the NCAA's elite signing classes for 2012.

"We're always looking for those kids who are not just great soccer players, but who are also a great fit for our program," Lee said. "We feel like Fernanda has all of the qualities to flourish in our program. She will thrive as a student-athlete at LSU, both on and off the soccer field."

A native of Puebla, Mexico, Piña is one of the most dynamic attacking players in North America who will join the NCAA Division I ranks for the 2012 fall season.

She emerged as a rising star in the Mexican Women's National Team system with her performance during the 2010 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup held in Trinidad & Tobago. That's where she scored a pair of goals in two starts in group play for the U-17 Mexican Women's National Team.

Piña led Mexico to its only victory at the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup with a 4-0 win versus the South Africa squad as she provided the primary assist for the second goal of the contest in the 52nd minute and scored the fourth goal of the match in the 77th minute as one of Mexico's offensive stars.

But it was her game-tying goal against South Korea in group play that is remembered most as she was the only Mexican standout to find the back of the net in a 4-1 defeat. After taking the ball down the right wing, Piña dribbled through three South Korean defenders before blasting a 10-yard strike past the keeper to draw Mexico level in the 37th minute of play. It was a goal recognized by FIFA among the top-10 goals scored during the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup tournament.

Piña now competes with the U-20 Mexican Women's National Team, which recently earned a berth in the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup to be held in Japan later this summer. She helped lead Mexico to a World Cup berth with a third-place finish at the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football U-20 Women's Championships held March 6-11 in Panama.

Piña made three appearances for Mexico during the 2012 CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championships in Panama as she came off the bench in matches against Jamaica on March 1 and Canada on March 5 before earning a start in a semifinal match with the United States on March 9.

She is set to compete for Mexico at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup following the club's defeat of Panama by a dominating score of 5-0 in the third-place game held Sunday this past weekend.

The Tigers are now two weeks into spring training as they are ready to open up the 2012 spring exhibition season on Thursday night with a home match against in-state rival Nicholls State that is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. CDT at the LSU Soccer Stadium. They will follow with a game with Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at the LSU Soccer Stadium.

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