Jenny Pöltl, Sarah Zadrazil, and Thomai Vardali earn spots on Austrian, Greek national teams
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 21, 2013) – Three ETSU women’s soccer players have earned an opportunity that eludes most student athletes—the chance to represent their respective countries on a global stage.
Sophomore Sarah Zadrazil (St. Gilgen, Austria), the Atlantic Sun’s reigning Freshman of the Year, will join ETSU teammate and freshman Jenny Pöltl (Steinberg-Dorfl, Austria) in competing for the Austria senior women’s soccer team during its World Cup qualifying matches against Bulgaria (Sept. 21) and Finland (Sept. 25).
Freshman Thomai Vardali (Koufalia, Greece) will also be representing her homeland as part of the Greece U19 team in its UEFA qualifying matches against Denmark (Sept. 21), Ireland (Sept. 23), and Kazakhstan (Sept. 26).
“We are very proud of [Sarah] Zadrazil, [Jenny] Pöltl, and [Thomai] Vardali, as we are of all our players who have represented their country in international competition,” ETSU head coach Adam Sayers said.
Over the past few years, ETSU players have enjoyed a wealth of international experience, competing for the national teams of Austria, England, Greece, Italy, and Wales.
“It’s a great honor to join your national team and play for your country,” Vardali said. “I’m very happy.”
The opportunity for Zadrazil, Pöltl, and Vardali to represent their countries on a global stage also allows the players the chance to compete against some of the best competition in the world.
“It’s a higher level, so I think you improve all the time when you play for your national team,” Zadrazil said.
For Zadrazil and Pöltl, it will also serve as a chance to return home, if only for a few days.
“I am excited to go home to see my family and friends,” Pöltl said.
Zadrazil, Pöltl, and the Austrian team will compete in Vöcklabruck, Austria before playing its second and final match in Turku, Finland. Vardali and the Greece U19 team will compete in Dublin, Ireland.
“They are obviously very talented players, and they work extremely hard in all we ask them to do here at ETSU,” Sayers said. ”They are very committed to the game, so certainly deserve their recognition and the honor of selection. We wish them well as they represent our team and university abroad, and look forward to welcoming them back soon.”
Zadrazil, the Bucs’ leading scorer this season, is excited about the opportunity to represent her country, but is also eager to return to ETSU as the team begins league play.
“I am looking forward to conference play,” Zadrazil said. “We have a good team.”
ETSU kicks off Atlantic Sun competition Saturday, Sept. 28 versus USC Upstate.