- Paul Sherman/Daily
By Brad Whipple, Daily Sports Writer
Published March 13, 2014
Less than a month ago, the Michigan women’s soccer team hosted a banquet to say goodbye to the seniors who helped put the team in the national spotlight.
As if filling their six starting spots wasn’t difficult enough, the Wolverines now have to deal with a seventh major vacancy.
Thursday, Christina Murillo announced she will miss the 2014 season, taking the academic year off to train with the Mexican Women’s National Team in preparation for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The competition will be held in Canada from June to July.
The junior midfielder plans to re-enroll at Michigan following the World Cup and will be eligible to play for one final season in 2015.
“This was a hard decision to make, but this is ultimately an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up again,” Murillo said in a statement to MGoBlue.com.
This isn’t the first time Murillo has competed at the international level. She played for Mexico in the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup and has six caps with the national team.
“Being selected to play on the world stage is a huge honor, and we’re all so happy for Christina,” said Michigan coach Greg Ryan in the statement. “We will miss her next year here at Michigan, but we want to wish her and Mexico the very best in the 2015 Women’s World Cup.”
Murillo mentioned that she wouldn’t have been able to represent her country in the World Cup if not for the freedom that Ryan, former coach of the United States Women’s National Team, gives his players.
“I’m not sure many college coaches would let their players do this, but he has been in support of this since the very beginning,” Murillo said.
Last season, Murillo missed the Wolverines’ games against Eastern Michigan and San Diego State to participate in a Sept. 3 international friendly against the U.S. She started 20 of Michigan’s 23 games, scoring one goal and tallying an assist.
The Wolverines boasted an elite midfield and back line in 2013, making their run to the Elite Eight possible. But repeating that success could be difficult this fall, when Ryan and the coaching staff will have to retool much of the lineup.
“It will be difficult to not be out on the field this year for Michigan,” Murillo said. “I’m hoping that when I come back after a full year of training that I will be able to contribute even more to help this team achieve great things.”