Mariana Speckmaier Interview – Women’s Soccer United
Mariana Speckmaier: I will cherish that moment forever
It has been an unforgettable time for 18 year-old Mariana Speckmaier who has carved her name in the history books as the first player to score for Venezuela at a FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Born and raised in Florida, Mariana Speckmaier was eligible to represent Venezuela through her father, and when the call came through from the U-20 WNT coach Jose Catoya asking her to participate at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, she said yes with no hesitation.
A decision that has entered her name into Venezuelan sporting history! Women’s Soccer United caught up with Mariana Speckmaier to discuss her recent experiences at the Under-20 Women’s World Cup, what it felt like to score that historic goal against Germany, her ambitions for the future as well as her tip to win the World Cup.
Women’s Soccer United: You were in the United States when Jose Catoya, the coach of the Venezuelan U-20 women’s national team called to ask if you wanted to be a part of the U-20 Women’s World Cup squad. How much of a surprise was it to get that phone call and was it tough to make a decision or did you instantly say yes at the opportunity?
Mariana Speckmaier: It was not much of a surprise because Jose Catoya has called me before several times asking me to play with them but I never had the opportunity. So, when I was asked for this I immediately said yes without hesitation.
WSU: How well did you know the Venezuelan U-20 squad before this competition? Was it difficult to integrate into the team?
Mariana Speckmaier: Coming into this team I had no idea who any of the squad were, some of them had played alongside my sister but I had never met them, so at first it was a little hard to integrate with the team but after a few months I was able to find my spot and join them.
WSU: Before the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, you were playing football in USA whilst studying for a degree in business administration and finance. What are the noticeable differences of playing styles in USA and Venezuela?
Mariana Speckmaier: Actually I haven’t started college, I took the semester off to do this (compete at the U-20 Women’s World Cup) so I’ll be starting in January at Clemson University. The soccer is very different between playing in the US and playing in Venezuela. I haven’t yet experienced college soccer, but I am very excited to start in January
WSU: Your sister Paulina represented Venezuela at the 2014 South American U-20 Women’s Championship, what advice/support did she give you ahead of participating in the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup?
Mariana Speckmaier: My sister told me that it would be very difficult and hard at the beginning but that to stick through it because once you step on that field with your jersey on your back with your name on it, it is the best feeling in the world and it makes everything completely worth it – and she was right.
WSU: You made Venezuelan sporting history on your first appearance for your country by scoring Venezuela’s first Women’s U-20 World Cup goal. Can you describe the experience and feeling scoring that goal on what must have been an unforgettable dream debut?
Mariana Speckmaier: It’s the most incredible thing I have ever experienced, it is honestly indescribable, it is something I will never forget. I will cherish that moment forever.
— Womens Soccer United (@WomensSoccerUtd) November 14, 2016
WSU: Your U-20 Women’s World Cup journey with Venezuela came to an end at the conclusion of the group stage but how would you assess yourself and your team’s performance as a whole and what lessons were learned?
Mariana Speckmaier: It’s sad that our tournament came to an end as early as it did but I think that I did the best that I could and my team did the best that we could. We played our hearts out and that is all we could do.
WSU: Of the remaining teams, who do you think will lift the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup?
Mariana Speckmaier: I think Germany has a really good chance of winning, or Japan.
WSU: You’re still only 18. What are your goals and ambitions for the future?
Mariana Speckmaier: For now, I just want to do my four years of college and play. Maybe after I will try and go pro, but I am not sure yet.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.