Four months ago, Sofia Huerta participated in her final spring practice of the school year with Santa Claras womens soccer team.
Now shes tangling in the nets against Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand with at least one more international opponent on the way.
Huerta is on another incredible soccer journey, spanning several countries, two languages and one unforgettable summer vacation.
The highlights include jumping into a pile of teammates as they celebrated Huertas goal to give Mexico a 1-0 lead over New Zealand this past weekend.
During halftime, it was difficult for Huerta to understand her teammates. Once they stepped back onto the pitch, there were no language barriers.
We all play the same game no matter where we are in the world, and no matter what language we speak, Huerta said. What I've realized is that it doesn't matter who you play with or where you are, we all understand each other and the game we all love to play.
Huerta, a 2011 Centennial graduate, was a late addition to the Mexican roster, but a significant one.
She has scored a goal in each of the first three games, helping Mexico advance to the quarterfinals.
In the first game, Huerta netted the lone goal in a 4-1 loss to Japan. Next, against Switzerland, she scored first in a 2-0 win. Then, against New Zealand, Huertas score ignited Mexicos four-goal flurry in the second half of a 4-0 victory.
Huertas road to Japan and the U-20 World Cup started in January, when she was invited to compete at the final national camp for the United States.
The team had been training together for two years, and opted to not select Huerta for the qualifying round.
It just wasnt the right time for me to be selected, but of course an honor to be invited, Huerta said. I thought the World Cup was out of reach for me at that point.
Luckily for Huerta, she has the rare benefit of being eligible for two countries. Huerta has dual citizenship with Mexico, because her father, Mauricio, was born in Puebla, Mexico.
In May, Mexican national coach Leo Cuellar contacted Huerta.
She made the team after a weeklong tryout, and spent the next few months at camps in Argentina, Mexico and South Korea.
Coaches spent that time figuring out how Huerta would work best in its system.
It was difficult for the coaches to include me in their plan, said Huerta, who only understands basic Spanish. They had to take into consideration how I would be most effective on their team. Finally we all came together and figured it out in time for the World Cup.
After the World Cup, Huerta will return to Santa Clara, which has already started its season. Last season, she was the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year.
Eventually, Huerta will have to decide whether to try out for the United States again or continue shining with Mexico. As of right now, she is muy contento happy, delighted, elated.
I am living in the moment, Huerta said. It feels right. Its been such an honor.
NEXT GAME Mexicos quarterfinal game against Nigeria will be televised at 12:50 a.m. MDT Thursday on ESPNU and ESPN3.
The United States faces North Korea on Friday, which could potentially create a semifinal match between Huerta and the United States.