UTB Ocelots News
Monica Mendes
Monica Mendes
Women's Soccer - 2:20 p.m. Monday, March 4, 2013

The country of Portugal has come calling again for University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College sophomore defender Monica Mendes

The Portugal women's national soccer team announced that Mendes along with the rest of her country's squad will compete in the 2013 Algarve Cup March 6-13. 

The Algarve Cup is a global invitational tournament for national teams in women's soccer. It has been held annually in the Algarve region of Portugal since 1994. 

Aside from the Olympics and World Cup the Algarve Cup is one of the most prestigious women's soccer events. 

The round robin tournament consists of twelve teams divided into three groups. Group A is Germany, Japan, Denmark, and Norway. Group B consists of USA, Sweden, Iceland, and China. Portugal will play in Group C alongside Mexico, Wales, and Hungary. 

"This is a big tournament with some of the best national teams in the world. It's a big deal to be here and be selected to play." Mendes said. "I'm sure it will be a very good experience for the team and myself. I am excited to be getting this awesome opportunity." 

In 2012 as a defender Mendes was an integral part of UTB/TSC run at the NAIA national title. She scored two goals and recorded eight assists during the season that ended in Orange Beach, Alabama in the Elite 8. 

"I'm thrilled for Monica. I know how big this is and how important it's to be called on to represent your country." UTB/TSC head coach Nik Barjaktarevic said. " We are all excited for Monica and will be cheering for Portugal a little more during the tournament."

Portugal will play Wales on March 6th, Hungary March 8th, and Mexico on March 11th.  Germany won the 2012 title with a 4-3 win over Japan. 

Although this is not the first time Mendes is playing with her national team (2012 International Women's Soccer Tournament in Sao Paulo Brazil) she is excited to play in this tournament for the first time. 

"It means a lot to me to be selected to play in this tournament with the national team for the first time." Mendes said. "It is a landmark moment in my life and I will enjoy it and use it to grow on and off the field. I am so happy and it's an unbelievable feeling being here with the team."