UCF women’s soccer alumna Aline Reis ’11 dared to believe she could participate in this month’s Summer Olympics, even though she hadn’t played in years. When she proudly parades through Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium during the opening ceremony Friday, she’ll do so in front of her home country.
Reis is one of three UCF alumni who will compete in the Olympics this year. She is making her first Olympics appearance along with Ricardo Gouveia ’14 (Portugal, golf) and three-time Olympian Phil Dalhausser ’02, will look to recreate some magic from the 2008 Beijing Games when he won gold for Team USA in beach volleyball.
Reis was an All-American goalkeeper for the UCF women’s soccer team from 2007 to11 before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and minors in coaching and health sciences. After a brief stint playing overseas, Reis got into coaching and spent the past two years on UCLA’s soccer staff as a volunteer goalkeeper coach, but she said she felt a desire to play again after watching the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.
She was called up to Brazil’s National Team Camp in February with no guarantees of a spot on the Olympic roster. She had never competed in a match for Brazil’s National Team before, so she was overjoyed when she claimed one of the two coveted goalkeeper slots on the 18-member roster.
Reis posted this on her Facebook account July 12, the day she learned she made the cut:
“Last Fall I decided to put my gloves back on again, fight for a shot at the National Team and earn a spot on the Olympic roster.
So I trained my butt off, packed my bags and left a fine life behind to go back home to pursue the dream.
Today I’m so thrilled to announce that I made the Brazilian Olympic Roster for Rio 2016. While I’m thankful for my faith and courage to go after my passion, I’m far more grateful for the tremendous amount of support and encouragement I received along the way from all those who surround me. I’m blessed!
But the dream is far from over… and I won’t rest until my teammates and I have a gold medal on our chest!”
Reis knows she has the support of her home country and her fellow Knights.
“So many people have reached out to me and made sure I knew they are sending me good vibes and cheering for me. It is absolutely awesome to have my fellow Knights supporting me!” she told UCFKnights.com. “My years at UCF were crucial at shaping the person and the player I am today.”
Olympic soccer matches will be played Aug. 3-19. Brazil’s first match is scheduled Wednesday against China at 3 p.m. and will stream live on www.nbcolympics.com