HATTIESBURG – Southern Miss freshman midfielder JoAnnie Ramos has earned a unique opportunity this summer.
She will be one of 20 members to represent her native Puerto Rico in the initial phase of CONCACAF Caribbean qualifying for the FIFA U-20 women’s World Cup in France in 2018. The best of the four teams in her pool will advance to the second CONCACAF qualifying stage in November in Saint Kitts.
The team, which trained at the Alberque Olimpico de Puerto Rico training center in Salinas, begins play Wednesday against Bonaire while also facing Antigua and Barbuda on Friday and the Dominican Republic on Sunday.
Ramos is one of 10 Americans born in Puerto Rico to be selected for the team. She moved to Florida when she was a year old and then to Texas prior to first grade. Ramos last competed competitively in the U.S. for Tompkins High School in Katy, Texas, leading the squad to the state championship game in just its third year of varsity competition.
Ramos, who will study nursing at Southern Miss, will have a quick turnaround to the collegiate season when she returns, as the Golden Eagles begin their season Aug. 10 with an exhibition versus Southeastern Louisiana.