SoccerViza client Liana Salazar has signed her first professional contract this week, joining fellow SoccerViza client Caroline Murray in Finland at Sudet.
The Colombian international and University of Kansas alum became the newest member of the SoccerViza Family when she enlisted the help of the company to launch her career in Europe following her Olympic campaign in Brazil.
"I’m very happy to be a part of the SoccerViza Family,” Liana said.
“I didn’t expect things to work out this quickly. I thought it would take some time, but it worked out so well with the timing after getting back from Rio. The process was fast and I’m very excited to be able to get over to Finland before the window closes.”
Liana’s development at the University of Kansas is something that will be able to help her in Europe, learning a faster speed of play and quick thinking off the ball in a competitive environment mimicking the professional game.
“Something that I really learned at Kansas was the speed of play,” Liana commented.
“Usually in Colombia, we play at a slower pace, however in Kansas I learned that I had to play extremely fast. I’m a lot quicker now at being ready with my movement when the ball is coming to me. I had to become stronger and faster playing there because of the physicality of play... I really think those things will help me in Finland, where the style of play is more similar to America than to Colombia.”
Following her graduation from Kansas last fall, Liana was a strong prospect for the NWSL draft, being put in some projections as a Top 15 pick, owing to her National Team experience and strong college career. She knew from the beginning though that she would forego her immediate entry into the professional ranks in order to devote herself full time to Colombia’s pursuit of an Olympic dream. Despite being a key part of her team for the 2011 Women’s World Cup, she was left off of the 2015 roster after choosing to dedicate herself to her senior season with Kansas. She was already a veteran of the 2012 Olympics in London, but she wanted another run in Rio, closer to home, and took the steps necessary to make the team.
It ended up being a good decision, as she took the field in all three group stage games, including the surprising 2-2 result with the United States.
“That had to be my favorite moment with the National Team, the last game we played against the United States. The atmosphere in the stadium was incredible, pretty much all of the Brazilians were supporting all of us. To get a result like that against the United States, a World Cup and Olympic champion, is incredible. I will never forget that.”
With immediate National Team duties beyond the horizon, Liana is now able to focus on getting her professional career off the ground, and is looking forward to bringing her abilities to Finland to help Sudet in the final stages of their promotion race, as well as for next season. She brings a technical ability with the ball as a gifted playmaker that should pair well with Caroline, the team’s leading scorer and one of the favorites to win League MVP this season.
“I’m looking forward to improving myself, to getting better every single day. There’s a kind of player that I want to become; I’m very young right now, and I want to keep playing for a long time. Being in an environment that’s going to allow me to continue training and improving every day is going to help me get to where I want to be.”