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Chelsea Cabarcas Colombian National Team Update

          Release: 07/03/2012
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Iona College Rising junior Chelsea Cabarcas is one of 22 players currently competing for a chance to compete for Colombia in the upcoming 2012 London Summer Olympics. Cabarcas takes some time out to tell us how everything is going as she competes for a spot on the team.

Hello Gael Fans!

Training with the national team of Colombia has gone well so far. We train seven days a week, often two sessions per day. Occasionally they build in rest so we get to train once a day. 

At first it was very difficult to adapt. We are concentrated in the mountains of Bogota, Colombia which makes it very difficult to breathe. The first three weeks of training were very challenging but I have slowly adapted. It was frustrating because I left Iona in top shape and when I arrived at camp, I felt like I had never run a day in my life.  I learned from Coach Mike (Barroqueiro) that you will face obstacles in your life and the outcome all depends on how you personally handle it. 

(Colombia Women's Soccer National Head Coach) Ricardo Rozo has asked me to play center defense, right defense, and center midfield. Every Sunday we travel to play against top 17 and over male teams in Colombia. Coach believes playing against men will allow us to develop as a group. No matter the difficulties and challenges that we face we always make an effort to play "our" style. 

The women in Colombia are very technical. I've never seen a female with so much skill during my whole 17 years of playing. They are very difficult to defend. I was never a great defender but after attending Iona I learned that defense is all mental. Coach Barroqueiro has always said defense is dependant on your mentality, hard work, and moving your feet. When we do 1v1's I always replay Coach Mike's voice in my head which helps me a lot. 

During the end of the first cycle of camp I injured my knee and my tail bone. I sat out for four days. In order to train, I have to take medication before practice and do rehab. Being that I haven't had the chance to fully rest, I haven't fully recovered from my injuries. It has made it difficult to train but I'm determined to reach my goal, and I'm not letting anything stop me. Every practice is high intensity and very organized. 

My first season with Iona didn't go as I had expected. There were games that I didn't play at all. I was going through a very rough time in my life that I wouldn't have gotten through without the help of Coach Mike or my teammates. Coach always kept our environment positive and made it habit for our training sessions to be high intensity. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Iona women’s soccer. 

It's been an awesome experience playing with the full blown women's team. We get a lot of attention from the media. I have met a number of people I would never have met if it was not for this experience. I had the pleasure of being on a lot of television shows and news channels such as Caracol and RCN and more.

The past two months have taught me a lot as a person and an athlete. I have learned a lot of positive things that I hope to teach my teammates when I get back. I have learned how to be both a follower and a leader. Being one of the youngest players on the team has made me a stronger person because I have to pick myself up when I feel discouraged. I am competing with grown women, so I don't have anyone to run to. I have gained a lot of confidence after this experience which has made me a better player.

I look forward to checking in next time and can’t wait to see all of my teammates and friends back home at the end of the summer!

Go Gaels!

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