Gaitàn is serving as a team captain for a Colombia squad that will take on Sweden at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 28, in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Leverkusen, Germany. The match will be televised live on ESPN.
Colombia is making its first appearance in Women’s World Cup and also is scheduled to face the United States on ESPN at noon Saturday, July 2, in Sinsheim and Korea DPR on ESPN2 at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, in Bochum.
“I’m excited for Natalia,” UT Head Women’s Soccer Coach Brad Evans said. “She has worked very hard to earn the right to play on the world’s largest stage for women’s soccer, and there were 73,000 fans at yesterday’s Germany vs. Canada game.
“She takes great pride in the way she represents her family and country, and we all wish her good luck. Colombia has a young team, one of the youngest in the tournament, and a tough draw, but I’ve learned never to count out Natalia and her team.”
“I am very excited about Tuesday’s match and can’t wait to play,” Gaitàn said. “Sweden is taller and faster than us, but we are prepared to play a very good game. We’ve worked on free kicks and other tactical areas as we know they will be very important for us.”
Gaitàn possesses an abundance of national team experience and most recently played a key role in helping the Under-20 Colombia National Team reach the finals of the 2010 South American Women’s Soccer Championships and place fourth at the U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.
She is coming off an outstanding 2010 fall campaign wearing the midnight blue and gold. Gaitàn started every match on defense and was named to the NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-Great Lakes Region Second-Team, as well as earning a spot on the Mid-American Conference All-Tournament Team.
Gaitàn was part of a UT defense that posted 10 shutouts and ranked second in the league in goals allowed (17), goals against average (0.78) and blankings.
The Rockets sported a 15-4-2 overall record in 2010, 10-1-0 in the league, en route to capturing a share of its second MAC regular-season title in the last three seasons.