Olympic Knights: Bronze or Bust
By Jenna Marina
ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2016) – A chance at a bronze medal is on the line for one Knight at the Summer Olympics.
UCF alumna Aline Reis ’11 and her native Brazil will face Canada in Friday’s bronze-medal soccer match at noon. WATCH
If Brazil wins, Reis will join an elite group of UCF alumni who have stood on the podium at the Summer Olympics. Michelle Akers ’89 won gold with Team USA’s 1996 soccer team, and Phil Dalhausser ’02 brought home gold from the 2008 Beijing Games in beach volleyball.
Dalhausser, a three-time Olympian, was also competing at this year in Rio but unfortunately exited the games early with a loss to top-seeded Brazil on Monday’s quarterfinals. He thanked his fans, sponsors, family and friends via Instagram for the support he received.
Reis, who earned her degree in interdisciplinary studies, was called up to Brazil’s National Team Camp in February with no guarantees of a spot on the Olympic roster. She secured a role as the reserve goalkeeper on the 18-member roster.
Her shining moment occurred on Aug. 9 when she received a starting nod, played all 90 minutes in goal and came up with two great saves to earn a shutout in a 0-0 tie against South Africa.
She was featured in an Aug. 16 article by Sports Illustrated after Brazil lost a heartbreaking match in penalty kicks to Sweden that — had they won — would have advanced them to Friday’s gold medal game.
“The coolest thing is it’s not only the typical soccer fan that’s supporting us,” Aline said in the story by Grant Wahl. “We have senior citizens, women of all ages watching us and sending us messages, wanting to take pictures with us. So I think that’s the biggest accomplishment we can have, even more important than a gold medal. We want to change the face of women’s soccer in Brazil. And if we can continue to do that through the media and the soccer that we’re playing on the field, that’s our biggest accomplishment.”
During her career at UCF, Reis earned All-American, all-region and all-conference honors and helped UCF win two conference championships. She was also recognized as a scholar All-American.