THE ‘This Girl Kicks’ U18s side departed for New York today (Monday) ready to take on some of the top universities and club sides in the USA.
On the team’s schedule is a prestigious fixture with Ivy League school, Columbia University, to kick off the tour, alongside a game with Iona College. The girls will also play against elite club sides including Cedar Stars Academy Staten Island and Cedar Stars Academy New Jersey.
The trip, led by This Girl Kicks founder and Redditch United Ladies manager Gary Barrell, has been years in the making as the girls on tour have experienced playing in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the Gothia World Youth Cup as well as Orlando, USA, in the Disney Soccer Showcase to give the girls the experience and desire to finish their youth careers with a crack at some of the strongest opposition in the USA.
Captain Zoe Clarke, who is currently studying at Bournville College and plays for Aston Villa Ladies, said: “This will be a great experience and opportunity for all of us girls who play for different clubs to come together to play against top level American universities.
“Most of us who have been on previous tours have seen the standard of foreign teams so know what they are about. We are expecting some tough games and will learn a lot from playing against different styles of football.
“This will be my first time going to New York. I can’t wait to see what the city has to offer. I’m sure it will impress!”
The girls on tour are in years 11, 12 or 13 and are currently or have previously represented Worcestershire County Schools FA at U14 and U16 level and are now playing for a variety of clubs including Aston Villa, Droitwich, Redditch United, Nunnery Wood Coyotes and West Bromwich Albion.
The trip provides a great educational opportunity for the girls as they get to experience higher education in the USA, visiting university campuses and getting an appreciation for what it takes academically and football wise to fulfil their goal of studying abroad, whilst progressing with their football.
Whilst the girls are not playing football, they will have an action-packed week including watching an MLS game as the New York Red Bulls host DC United, heading to an MLB game as the New York Yankees host Tampa Bay Rays and visiting Six Flags, the largest theme park in New York/New Jersey.