• TheDMonline.com Staff Member?
  • Log In
Share |

Souza makes first start with Brazilian National Team

File Photo

Junior-to-be Rafaelle Souza made her first career appearance with the full Brazilian National Team Saturday when she started in an international friendly against Canada.

“I cannot describe how awesome it was to start for the full national team and hear the Brazilian national anthem after more than two months far away from my home country,” Souza said. “That was really great. I think I earned the start because of the good job and dedication from both myself and my coaches during this semester at Ole Miss.”

Souza, who has also played with the U17 and U20 Brazilian National Teams, started and played the first 45 minutes against the Canadians in Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Canada posted a 2-1 win over Brazil.

Souza will spend the remainder of the week in Massachusetts training with the Brazilian National Team in their training camp.  Brazil is ranked as the fourth-best team in the world in the current FIFA rankings.  

“Usually we have practice twice a day and our practices are at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. After the practice in the afternoon, we have meetings with the coaches to watch videos about our practices and to discuss strategies and plans for our games,” Souza said. “I try to focus on my soccer training; however, I almost always need to study and do my homework between practices and after meetings at night.

“My favorite parts of this experience have been being together with my friends here and speaking Portuguese. I love to represent my country doing the thing I enjoy most, which is playing soccer. And sometimes we have dinner in Brazilian restaurants.”

In her first season at Ole Miss last fall as a sophomore, Souza led the team in goals (nine), assists (seven) and points (25) and ended the year one goal, one point and one assist away from breaking into Ole Miss’ single-season record book for each category.  In 15 of the 16 games she played in, her shot on goal percentage was at least 50 percent, and Souza finished the year tied for fifth in the SEC in game-winning goals (4), ninth in points (25) and tied for ninth in goals (9). 

“I’m really happy for Rafa for this opportunity to represent Ole Miss and one of the best countries in the world,” Ole Miss head coach Matt Mott said. “This opportunity is a credit to her hard work and dedication on the field. I think (strength and conditioning coach) Randall Dorvin has done a great job with her in the weight room to help prepare her for this opportunity.”