NASHVILLE, Tenn. --Vanderbilt incoming freshman Chelsea Stewart was recently named to the Canadian Under 20 (U-20) National Soccer Team.
The squad is currently playing in the CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) U-20 World Championships in in Puebla, Mexico.
"As for my views on everything out here, there is so much that events such as these have to offer that it is hard to express it all," said Stewart. "Just the opportunity to represent your country in an international competition is something you dream about as a child."
The team defeated Nicaragua, 2-0, on Tuesday and will face Jamaica today before ending Pool play against Costa Rica on Saturday.
Should Canada advance, it will play a team from Group B (United States, Trinidad & Tobago, Cuba or host México) in one of the semi-finals on June 25. The two semifinal winners advance to the championship final on June 28.
The top-three teams in the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship will qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008. The FIFA tournament runs November 19 to December 7. Canada has participated in every FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup since the tournament had its inception in 2002.
"Each game and place the team travels offers a chance to experience and adapt to new cultures," added Stewart. "It is not only a tournament, but a learning experience.
"Additionally, the teams at the tournament are world class. All of the teams have different styles of play and views of the game. Everytime you are out on the field you are faced with a new challenge."
Stewart was ranked as the No. 26th best incoming recruit in the country by topdrawersoccer.com and the No. 48th player nationally by Soccer Buzz.com.
The Highlands Ranch, Colo. native was a highly decorated student-athlete in high school earning Youth All-American honors in 2006. She helped lead her club team, Real Colorado National, to three state championships and was a two-time All-State selection. She played her senior season at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota.
Her father, Bill Stewart, was a member of Canada's ice hockey national team in 1983.
"We are excited that Chelsea will be able to compete for the Canadian U-20 team," said Vanderbilt head coach Ronnie Coveleskie. "She is a very talented player who has played at a high level her entire career and we believe she will eventually be a huge addition to our program as well."