Costa Rica's Gloriana Villalobos (pictured) acknowledges the home crowd's support during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup against Zambia on March 22, 2014 in Tibas, San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Saprissa and Costa Rica standout Gloriana Villalobos will continue her education and football career in the United States, when she attends Florida State University this month in preparation for the 2017 collegiate season, which starts in August.
The 17-year-old midfielder, who spent the past three years with Saprissa women’s team, boasts a wealth of international experience, having represented Costa Rica at the 2014 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup and 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, appearing in three matches in each tournament. She was also on the Costa Rica’s roster at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but didn’t see any action.
“I want to give my thanks to Saprissa for giving me the opportunity to belong to a great club that I have always carried in my heart,” said Villalobos on the Saprissa website. “They were three years in which I defended the Monstruo shirt with so much love and I am more thank grateful for having the privilege of wearing the ‘S’ on my chest.”
Villalobos’ international team experience also extends into CONCACAF competition. As a 14-year-old, she played in all five of Costa Rica’s matches at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, including Costa Rica’s thrilling 7-3 extra time victory over Trinidad & Tobago in the match for third place match, which qualified Las Ticas for the 2014 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
The midfielder’s memorable 2014 included her first goal Costa Rica senior national team, as she scored in a 3-0 win over Nicaragua in Central American qualifying for that year’s CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
Villalobos joins a Florida State team that posted an overall record of 14-4-4 in 2016 and reached the second round of the 2016 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship. Her solid midfield presence should help strengthen a squad that scored 32 goals, while conceding just nine scores in 22 matches.
Florida State’s roster also includes Ireland forward Megan Connolly, who made her senior international debut against the United States last year; Venezuela’s Deyna Castellanos, who has scored 11 goals in 12 all-time FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup games; and U.S. youth international midfielder Malia Berekly.