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US girls finish tour de force

Visiting United States girls football team Snohomish United wrapped up their Cambodian tour Monday, which saw them complete eleven fixtures against provincial teams without the loss of a single goal. In fact, the American keeper was rarely called into action by the home teams’ attackers, as the visitors exerted their physical dominance and superior experience to record a perfect set of shutouts.

After kicking off their campaign the previous week with back-to-back 4-0 victories in Battambang against the local side and the team from Pursat, the girls headed to Kampong Chhnang. Despite needing to recruit six players from Battambang’s SALT Academy to replace those succumbing to sickness, the US side comfortably ran over the Cambodians for yet another 4-0 rout.

That evening, they made the short trip down to Phnom Penh to play a 4-team tournament the following day at the National Training Centre organised by the Football Federation of Cambodia.

In their first match, the Prey Veng side offered little challenge as Snohomish blitzed them 5-0. However, the second fixture saw Phnom Penh push them close, with the Washington state girls squandering numerous chances to emerge 1-0 victors.

A spirited performance by Kampong Speu then yielded a 2-0 win for the US team in their final game.

Back on the road once again Saturday, the team made their way up to Kampong Thom, where they notched another 2-0 triumph on a difficult pitch and without their best striker and defender. In Siem Reap the next day, they recorded a 2-0 victory over the host side, but were held to their first 0-0 draw against Preah Vihear, who had won the 2010 School Championships in Svay Rieng in April.

Banteay Meanchey then welcomed the team Monday, with the local side – who were School Champions last year – forcing another stalemate in wet conditions. The US girls finally sealed their epic tour with a 2-0 win over Poipet before looping back to Battambang to finish working with the girls there.

Snohomish United coaches and players were highly appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the various tournaments, giving praise to tour coordinator Sam Schweingruber and the FFC.

“To see the communal pride among each team was amazing,” said staff member Teresa Wirkkala. “It says a lot about how much the girls care about and enjoy the game of football.”

Team coach Sy Reeves was similarly impressed by the development of women’s football in the Kingdom. “The overall promotion and expansion of women’s football is, without question, on the rise in Cambodia,” she said. “Throughout the duration of our traveling, this was evident in the way the teams competed, the way they trained, and most of all, the way they enjoyed the game. This generation of women’s football will be remembered as ambassadors for not just football, but for girls and women overall.”

Directors of the US team are now interested in partnering with the FFC to organise an annual international tournament to be played in Phnom Penh.



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