Foreign Players Spur FSU Soccer; Core of Six, Including Two Olympians, Leads Women's Squad to School-Best 19-3 Record and NCAA Tourney

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Byline: BOB THOMAS

TALLAHASSEE -- Geographically speaking, second-seeded Florida State will field a far more diverse side when it hosts Cal today in a first-time meeting between the programs, with the winner advancing to the NCAA women's soccer quarterfinals

A blend of six international players -- two from Germany and one each from Australia, Finland, Japan and The Netherlands -- brought together by first-year coach Mark Krikorian is at the core of the Seminoles' record-setting season.

Australian forward Sel Kuralay and German midfielder Viola Odebrecht -- finalists for national player of the year honors -- have been central figures in Krikorian's "possession-oriented" attack, allowing the Seminoles (19-3) to have the best record in school history.

"We've both played on the world stage on a number of occasions," said Kuralay, who leads the team with 16 goals and 40 points. "Being on such a big stage has definitely helped us coming here."

Each represented her country in the 2004 Olympic Games, and Odebrecht also was a member of Germany's 2003 World Cup championship team. Odebrecht is third in scoring with 26 points, right behind Florida native India Trotter (31). In fact, all six international newcomers -- five of whom start -- have played on their respective national teams at some level.

"Each brings a slightly different element [to the team]," Krikorian said. "The one common denominator in all of them is they want to be on a successful team."

That unselfishness helped the team form a quick bond on the field as the Seminoles won their first seven matches before falling to North Carolina, their likely opponent should they get past the Bears today.

"Having players from different countries, you never know how it's really going to be; how the communication is going to work," Kuralay said. …

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