Oct. 8, 2010
AUCKLAND, New Zealand -
Ali Riley, former Stanford defender and current Cardinal undergraduate assistant coach, earned a berth in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup by helping New Zealand to the Oceania Nations Cup title on Friday.
Riley scored the first goal of her international career when she smashed a left-footed shot from 20 yards in the seventh minute of an 11-0 victory over Papua New Guinea in the tournament's grand final.
Riley then supplied a cross from the left that teammate Rosie White headed in to give the Football Ferns a 2-0 lead in the 15th minute. Riley finished with a goal and two assists.
New Zealand became the ninth team to qualify for the 16-team World Cup, to be played June 26-July 17 in Germany. New Zealand joins Australia, Japan, North Korea from the Asian federation, and the Europe's England, France, Norway and Sweden, and host and defending champion Germany. It will be the second World Cup for Riley, who played in the 2007 tournament and the 2008 Olympics.
After helping Stanford to the 2009 NCAA College Cup final, she helped FC Gold Pride to the Women's Professional Soccer title, capturing WPS Rookie of the Year and league Best XI honors.
Stanford has a chance to be represented by three nations in Germany. The United States and Mexico will compete in the eight-team North American qualifying tournament Oct. 28-Nov. 8 in Cancun, Mexico. The finalists earn automatic berths, while the third-place team will face a single-match playoff with the fifth-place team from Europe for another berth.
The U.S. team is captained by former Stanford defender Rachel Buehler and also features goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, a former Cardinal All-American and current Stanford volunteer assistant coach. Kelley O'Hara, the 2009 Hermann Trophy winner for Stanford, also plays for the U.S.
Current Stanford sophomore Alina Garciamendez
made her debut for the Mexican senior national team in December, 2009, and likely will play in the tournament despite an overlap with Stanford's season.
Though Stanford has three matches during that span, Garciamendez plans to not miss any. Instead, she would miss Mexico's first two group-stage matches, which flank Stanford's match at Cal on Oct. 30. She would then arrive for the final Group A match, against Canada on Nov. 2 and a possible semifinal on Nov. 5, before flying back that day for Stanford's evening match against visiting Oregon State at 8.