Former Ole Miss standout Rafaelle Souza has been an integral part of the Brazil women’s soccer team and now finds herself playing in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympics.
Rafaelle has played well since converting to defense in early 2015, starting every match in Brazil’s run in the 2015 Women’s World Cup before the team eventually lost to Australia in the quarterfinals. Brazil only allowed one goal in that Women’s World Cup, which, unfortunately, was the goal that was their undoing versus Australia.
However, Brazil rebounded to win gold in the Pan Am Games later on in the summer of 2015. For her part, Rafaelle scored two goals in the semifinals of that tournament. Brazil’s defense only allowed three goals in the whole entire tournament.
Her play and continued development at her professional club in China (Changchun) led Rafaelle to not only being named as a member of Brazil’s team, but to her starting every match. This is obviously a huge honor, even more so because the Olympic tournament is spread throughout Brazil, her home country. The semifinals and final matches will be played at Rio’s famed Maracana Stadium.
Rafa shines in Brazil’s Olympic win over Australia
This past Friday, Brazil defeated Australia in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the Olympic tournament, exacting revenge on the Aussies from last year’s World Cup quarterfinal defeat.
Rafaelle scored one of the pivotal penalty kicks, and helped lead the defense in punching its ticket to the semifinals in Rio.
Next up, Brazil plays a very tough Sweden team (which beat the U.S. in the quarterfinals) in the semis on Tuesday, August 16. This Brazil team is playing its best soccer right now, probably the most consistent they have been in a while.
Helping to lead them is Rafaelle Souza, who picked up a few tricks of the trade in Oxford, Mississippi.