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Soccer players kick off on the world stage

A GROUP of girls finally met their match when they flew to the USA to play in the prestigious Dallas International Girls Cup.

The under-17 team from soccer club Olympia FC Warriors were extended an invitation to compete in Texas after a representative watched the team play.

The girls have dominated both Tasmania and Victoria’s female soccer scene for some time and coach Alistair Russell said they were ready for the “next step”.

“We’ve had to play in Hobart’s boys league to give us competition and help with development,” he said.

“I wanted to challenge the girls, so I made some enquiries with the organisers of the tournament and told them who we are and what we’ve done so they sent someone to watch one of their games.

“They obviously liked what they saw.”

The girls competed against 240 leading teams from 22 different countries in what were some “very competitive” matches.

The girls were also selected as Australian representatives in the opening ceremony.

“It was such a great soccer experience because our team was very young for the age group as we have one 14-year-old, five 15-year-olds and the rest are 16-year-olds,” Mr Russell said.

“Most of the teams even had 17 players while we only had 13.

“We worked really hard to be there and from a skill point-of-view we were on the same level as the other teams.

“We had some very close losses but to see it play off that way was incredibly heart-warming.”

It was the first time a team from Tasmania has participated in the tournament.

Caption: Olympia FC Warriors under 17 girls team at their home pitch in Hobart.