Lena Petermann was a rising sophomore at the University of Central Florida when her native Germany called her to play last month in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.
It certainly wasn’t her first national team appearance for Germany. She was with the U-20 team in the Six Nations Tournament in Spain last March. She also played in the 2010 and 2011 UEFA Women’s U-17 championships, and in the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
She was coming off an outstanding first season at UCF. She was the 2013 American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year and was selected as this year’s Preseason Player of the Year. Her coaches and teammates were looking forward to watching her play for the German side that was one of the World Cup favorites.
And play she did, and the favored Germans won the World Cup, 1-0 over Nigeria. Petermann scored the winning goal, and soon afterwards she was a former rising sophomore at the University of Central Florida.
Petermann., a native of Otterndoft, Germany, started every game for her U-20 national team. She scored three goals in the tournament, all game-winners. She had the first goal in a 3-0 win over the United States in the group opened, and also scored the only goal in Germany’s 1-0 semifinal victory over France in the 81st minute of play.
On the horizon is the 2015 FIFA women’s World Cup, and Petermann has always had her eye on playing for the German senior national team. Her play in Canada has opened that door. In the championship game, she finished the game-winner in the 98th minute during overtime.
She has returned to Germany where she will embark on a professional career.
“It was a hard decision to make, because I liked being here at UCF, but I feel I need to take this opportunity,” Petermann said before her departure. “I will miss my teammates and my coaches, and I know they will continue to be successful.”
UCF head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said she had lengthy conversations with Petermann and ultimately understood her decision.
“We obviously are sad about Lena leaving, but we also don’t want to hold her back from this opportunity,” Roberts Sahaydak said. “She has dreams of playing in the 2015 World Cup, and I understand when players want to pursue that goal because I had those same dreams as a young player. From my experience with the U.S. National Team and playing in the World Cup, it’s an experience unlike any other.
“So we wish her well, and I am confident that our team will continue to stay focused as we work toward accomplishing our goals this season.”