Know Your Cardinals: Charlyn Corral
By Noah Allison
U of L’s senior forward Charlyn Corral proved to be one of the most valuable players not only on the team, but
also in the American Athletic Conference. During the 2013 regular season she led the Cardinals to a 12-4-1 overall
record and a 7-1 conference record. She led the Cardinals and the AAC in shots on goal with 93 attempts, goals
made with 13 and was one of the league’s leading passers with 10 assists. But for the 22-year-old native of Mexico
City, Mexico, Louisville is just one of many stops on her already long and illustrious soccer career.
“I started to play soccer when I was five years old because my older brother George played,” Corral said. “Since
he is only a year older then me I just played on his teams growing up. He was definitely an inspiration for my start
in soccer and definitely helped me learn fast. But once I turned nine I stopped playing with the boys and started
playing on all girls teams.”
George Corral is currently playing soccer professionally in Mexico for Jaguares de Chiapas. Learning from her
older brother gave Charlyn a jump-start in her soccer career that got the ground rolling for her career very early
“I was playing on my under-12 girls team when we played in the national championship, the coach of the
national team had seen me and saw how I played. When I turned 11 I received a call from the national team and
was invited to a tryout, from there everything moved so fast. When I was 13 I made the final roster for the under-
20 national team and started competing in international play,” Corral said.
Corral not only competed internationally at a young age, she dominated internationally at a young age. At 14,
Corral became the world’s youngest person to ever score a goal in a World Cup game when she managed to put
two in the back of the net against Switzerland.
“It was the U20 in Russia, it was my first World Cup and I was 14 and got those two goals against Switzerland.
In the whole Cup I was voted best striker with eight goals, so I’ve had a good history with soccer so far,” Corral
said. “After I started to have success and achieve a lot of things and travel the world I realized it was happening so
fast. In the moment I never even thought it was reality, but now when I look back I think wow, its awesome. It’s
different but it’s a very good life.”
Having accomplished things nobody else ever had when still just such a young girl did not alter who Corral was
as a person. It did not make her complacent, rather it just raised the bar for goals she wants to accomplish. Her
biggest goal in life though is to get an education. When the opportunity to come to U of L presented itself to her in
the middle of her tenure at Technologico de Monterey in Monterey, Mexico, she couldn’t pass up the challenge of
transferring to an American university.
“In Monterey I had everything I needed, a full scholarship, a good roommate and a good team. I was happy there,
but my decision to come to the United States was based on wanting to learn English and try out U.S. collegiate
sports,” Corral said.
For a girl who had already competed against World-Cup-worthy opponents coming to America to play soccer
provided a different perspective of the sport she plays and offered a chance to hone a whole new set of skills.
“I love the passion in the college game, every university has good players and they all want to win. Compared to
some other teams I’ve played its very different, maybe national and World Cup players are more technical but here
the game is more physical and passionate, here the players have no fear,” Corral continues. “My fierce style of play
comes from being mentally in the game. I am only five-foot-three and so some wonder how I can play with such
tall people, but the difference is my experience. The opponent never knows quite what I want to do, I am fast with
the ball and have a good ability to shoot with both of my legs and scored off both left and right-footed kicks this
year. My soccer may be a bit different because I am not as athletic but I like to think that I am smart and technical
and this is definitely to my advantage when I play.”
The challenge for Corral was not adjusting to the style of play in her new home; it was adjusting to her new
home. Hardly able to speak English made her overall scholastic experience tough to get used to.
“School is very hard but when I first got here it was much worse because I had no friends and hardly spoke
English. I had tutors but the problems were the same as in the classes because they weren’t speaking Spanish, so
I couldn’t understand the lesson in the class or the lesson from the tutor. My best friend was definitely Google
Translator for a while there,” Corral said. “But I feel good, I have adjusted and I am disciplined in my studies so I
was able to make it work and my grades were never very bad. People may only know me for soccer because that is
why I am here but in my life my first priority is school. It’s a challenge every day but every day I learn something
In her two years of eligibility at U of L, Corral scored a total of 21 goals and had 17 assists. She has already lived a
life full of successes and while there is still a whole world of opportunity awaiting her in soccer, she is not blind to
the world of opportunity soccer has already provided.
“When I was a little girl I didn’t think I would get that good that fast, in the beginning I knew I had talent but
I didn’t think I would ever be good enough to play in World Cups. When I first started playing it wasn’t because
my dream was to play in the World Cup or for the national team. No, I played because it was fun and a good sport.
Soccer changed my life in all aspects, both school and socially. My grades improved when I started playing and I
started making friends when I started playing. I came to Louisville because soccer gave me the confidence to be able
to. Soccer is a huge part of my life, that changed all of my life.”