The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ has already seen a number of new names shine brightly in front of a global audience for the first time. Among the most prominent would undoubtedly sit the name of Monica Ocampo.
The Mexican forward single-handedly reversed the momentum of Monday’s match against England in Wolfsburg, helping to earn El Tri a well-deserved share of the points in their first appearance on the world stage in 12 years.
Mexico began their Group B opener in disjointed fashion allowing England to take a firm grip on proceedings. However, with Mexico rocking and staring at the prospect of conceding a near-insurmountable second goal, up stepped the player known to her team-mates as Moni. Against the run of play Ocampo advanced downfield, cut onto her right foot and unleashed a vicious swerving drive that found its way inside the top corner in a glorious moment that is sure to feature in any highlights reel from Germany 2011.
It was a pivotal moment in the match and in a single blow halted any suggestion that Mexico’s long-awaited return to the FIFA Women’s World Cup was about to go sour. Indeed, by the end of the contest, Mexico had shown enough to suggest their future in women’s football is bright. Ocampo could have even turned the 1-1 scoreline into a famous victory late on had her well-hit free-kick been marginally more accurate.
I’m very proud to be here playing in Germany on the world stage. It is certainly the best moment of my career.
The 33rd minute equaliser was all the more remarkable for the fact that Ocampo is a natural left-footer, although the evidence is that she is clearly competent with her right as well. “That was the best goal I have ever scored,” Ocampo told FIFA.com. “It was of course extra special because it is the World Cup and it was very important to equalise.
“Before the game the team was quite anxious, but having said that we were ready to play. After the game we were happy, but everyone feels they can give even more, so now we are looking to the Japan match. Now we have more confidence and we will have good positive thoughts for our future matches.”
The stocky No19 linked superbly with veteran Mexico attacking superstar Maribel Dominguez, showing silky ball skills and combining well with the team’s skipper and traditional game-breaker. It is a mantle which Ocampo may well assume in the years to come. Indeed their careers have already had some similarities with Ocampo turning out for Atlanta Beat last year in USA’s Women's Professional Soccer; the same club in which Dominguez featured several years earlier.
“We know each other really well which helps with our combinations,” said Ocampo. “We have a good friendship on and off the field and that helps us for sure. I admire Maribel for her play and for her career so that is another reason why the match against England was so special for me.”
Now 24, and having featured at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World, Ocampo has several years experience of senior football to fall back on, but now it seems she is comfortable and confident showing her wares at the very highest level. “I’m very proud to be here playing in Germany on the world stage,” said Ocampo. “It is certainly the best moment of my career.” Few would bet against Ocampo creating many more ‘best moments’ in the years to come.