Colorado soccer player Sarah Kinzner returned home to Canada this week with a silver medal after leading her home country at the 2015 CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship in Honduras. The native of Calgary, Alberta, finished her freshman season at CU this fall.
In Honduras, Kinzner scored two goals and started all five matches for Canada, leading the team to a 3-1-1 record as the Canadians outscored their opponents 11-1 in the tournament.
"I was one of the more senior girls on the team so that definitely gave me the opportunity to be a role model to some of the younger players and help them out," Kinzer told the cubuffs.com. "I have participated in several FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cup and CONCACAF tournaments over the past few years and was part of the Pan Am Games team last summer. I tried to draw on some of my experiences at these tournaments and share them with my teammates."
She netted Canada's first goal in the tournament in the 16th minute of a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago on Dec. 3 in the first of three matches in group play. Three days later, Kinzner scored the second goal in a 7-0 victory over Jamaica in the 21st minute, qualifying Canada for the semifinals. She played 56 minutes of a 2-0 win over Honduras on Dec. 8.
Her goal off a free kick against Jamaica was one of her favorite moments of the tournament.
"I managed to curl the ball around the wall and into the corner of the net. I have been practicing my shot a lot and I was so happy to see all my hard work paying off."
In the semifinal round, she was on the pitch for 46 minutes of a scoreless draw with Mexico as Canada advanced to the championship on penalties. Despite not playing the entire match, Kinzner recognized advancing past Mexico as her second-favorite moment from the tournament.
"My other favorite moment was when we managed to beat Mexico in penalty kicks. I was so proud of my team and I was ecstatic that this victory qualified us for the World Cup."
She then played the first 46 minutes in a 1-0 loss to the United States in the gold medal match on Sunday. The U.S. scored the lone goal in the 59th minute.
By finishing in the top three, Canada earned a berth in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Papua New Guinea in 2016. Kinzner will compete for a spot on the team once again.
As a freshman this fall, Kinzner scored a goal and had two assists, while starting all 20 matches for the Buffaloes. She hopes her success with Canada's U-20 team translates into more success in Boulder.
"The U-20 CONCACAF tournament allowed me to compete against some of the top players from all over North and Central America. The experience has taught me a lot about what it takes to succeed and I hope to bring the knowledge I have received and incorporate it into next season at CU."