Photo by: Xolos Femenil
Itzel Gonzalez in action for LIGA MX Femenil professional side Xolos Femenil.

Former Triton All-American Itzel Gonzalez Earns First Senior Call-Up to Mexico National Team

UC San Diego

TOLUCA, Mexico - Former University of California San Diego women's soccer All-American goalkeeper Itzel Gonzalez, a 2016 graduate in structural engineering, has earned her first call-up to the senior Mexico national team.

The product of Tijuana, Mexico, was one of three goalkeepers and 26 players in all when Mexico named its first senior national team for the 2019 calendar year on Friday. The group will convene in the Mexican capital of Mexico City, Jan. 14-22, for training camp in preparation for the annual 12-nation Cyprus Women's Cup from Feb. 25-March 7.

Gonzalez just last Monday, Jan. 7, began her fourth professional season minding the net for Xolos Femenil in LIGA MX Femenil, the top pro league in Mexico. As of Oct. 7 of the 2018 Apertura, her third season, she had logged the most minutes played of any goalie in the league's short history, at 3330 over 37 games. Xolos is the side of her native Tijuana, and plays its home games at Estadio Caliente.

Gonzalez was a five-year Triton, backing up classmate Kelcie Brodsky her first three seasons before redshirting in 2015 and producing an All-American final campaign as a redshirt senior in 2016. She helped guide UC San Diego all the way to the NCAA Division II West Region final, following a perfect 12-0 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) slate and subsequent league double with regular-season and tournament banners. Gonzalez appeared 28 times for the Tritons for her career, with 23 starts, a 0.54 goals-against average, 47 saves and 15 shutouts, all in 2016.

Of the 26 players called in for Mexico Friday, 18 hail from its domestic LIGA MX Femenil, with five playing professionally in Europe, and three in the United States.

January will mark the first Mexico involvement for Gonzalez since April of 2013, when she made her lone appearance for the under-20 national team, drawing the start in a scoreless tie with the full national side of Haiti at the University of Notre Dame. She was part of the Mexico squad selected for the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan, but did not see any action over four contests at the tournament.

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With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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