Breakers’ midfielder Rafinha has been added to Brazil’s World Cup roster as an injury replacement for Erika. The 26-year old will be in her first major tournament after making her senior debut for Brazil in 2013.
“Obviously we’ll miss her but we’re tickled to death for her,” Breakers coach Tom Durkin said. “We were about to move her up into a striker role and I’m pretty sure that’s where she will play for Brazil.”
Rafinha has started in five of her six appearances for the Breakers this season. She has not regisrered a goal or an assist but has been a factor in the club’s attack out of midfield.
“The national team’s coach (Vadao) was over the moon with the form she showed, her fitness, and the improvements she has made from a physical standpoint while she was with the Breakers. So she has really benefited from playing in the states and in this league. We couldn’t be more proud of that.”
Erika won a silver medal with Brazil at the 2008 Olympics and was also in the team for the 2011 World Cup and 2012 Olympics. In the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal against the United States she famously faked an injury in an effort to kill the clock. She was stretchered off before quickly sprinting back on and getting booked for unsportsmanlike conduct. The U.S. tied the game in stoppage time of extra time and prevailed on penalties.
Rafinha is the 48th NWSL player on a World Cup roster.
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