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Colombian former soap star wants to find fame again at Olympics by beating US

07/27/2012 01:30 EDT | Updated 09/26/2012 05:12 EDT
GLASGOW, Scotland - A role in a Colombian soap opera made Orianica Velasquez popular in her country for a while. Now she wants her football performances for the women's Olympic team to make her famous again.

The forward will need to act fast, though, because Colombia lost its first match to North Korea at Hampden Park. If the team doesn't beat gold-medal favourite United States in the second game, the South American country could find it difficult to advance to the next round.

Velasquez, who turns 23 on Aug. 1 and majors in health administration at Indiana University, played the role of Betty on "Juego Limpio," or "Fair Play," six years ago.

One of her high school classmates was an actress on the show, which needed someone to fill a role as a football player, and she was asked to do it.

"I did that for a year and I was famous for a little while because the show was broadcast on national TV," she said Friday. "It was a great experience and people still recognize me because of my character Betty.

"What I want, though, is to become famous for a second time through doing well in football, and I hope I can make that happen."

She and the rest of her teammates will first have to play better than they did against North Korea on Wednesday. Colombia lost the match 2-0 and Velasquez failed to make an impact.

"I feel this is my time to show myself, and show that Colombia is better than we were in that opening match," she said. "We need the three points."

Velasquez has played against the United States before, coming on as a substitute at the 2011 World Cup in a 3-0 loss. When she came on, she immediately got the ball and took a shot, but goalkeeper Hope Solo punched it away.

The Colombian, who left Bogota in 2009 to study in Indiana, hopes she will put the ball past Solo this time in the Group G match. The U.S. won its first match 4-2 against France, but had to come from behind after going two goals down early on.

"It is exciting to have the chance to play against the USA at the Olympic Games and I think we can win the match," Velasquez said. "You have to think that you can do impossible things and we have to play with that belief."

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