Kansas Soccer Freshman Liana Salazar to Play in London Olympics

May 2, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas soccer freshman Liana Salazar has already played on one of the biggest stages in the game appearing in the World Cup in Germany last summer, but the midfielder is about to step up to the next level appearing in the 2012 Olympic games in London in July for her native Colombia.

It all started with an email. Just last week Salazar opened up her inbox to a new message from the Colombian coach asking if she wanted to come to London and represent the team at the Olympics.

Her answer didn’t come as easily as one might have thought. Already planning to remain in Lawrence for the summer months and attend summer school, Salazar wasn’t immediately sure if she wanted to play. However, after discussing the opportunity with many of her friends and coaches, it was her mom and brother who ultimately persuaded her to agree to go.

The 5-foot-3 Bogota, Colombia native will depart Lawrence on May 8 and spend the next two months training in Colombia.

“I am excited to go home this summer,” Salazar said. “When I came to KU, I decided to stay in Lawrence for summer school but now I’m excited to go home and see my family.”

The team will practice nearly every day and often twice in one day in preparation for the Olympics, which begin on July 25. Colombia will face USA in its first match, scheduled for July 28. The contest will be a familiar one as Colombia faced the U.S. team in the 2011 World Cup a year ago.

Despite the grandeur of the event, it hasn’t rattled the humble soccer player.

“I think it will be similar to the World Cup” said Salazar. “I don’t feel nervous right now but I think as it gets closer to the Olympics I will get more nervous.”