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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 September 2005) . . Page.. 3413 ..

When they arrived in Denmark from Shanghai, they went to Copenhagen and then to a small town called Horsens which put the team up. There the team was able to participate in a local competition, which they won. It was good preparation. From Horsens, they then moved on to Hjorring to participate in the Dana Cup.

For the information of members, the Dana Cup is the largest youth football tournament in the world. It attracts over 900 teams from over 40 countries and is considered to be the pinnacle for young players. It was a chance for our girls to play in a world-class competition as well as have fun and learn a little bit about the other side of the world. This is something that they took to with a great deal of gusto.

On arriving in Hjorring, they were set up in a local high school. They turned a spartan classroom into a home. Mainly through their efforts and the sheer vitality of the team, they were asked by the mayor of Hjorring to be one of the two teams who were officially invited to open the Dana Cup. The other team was from Russia. The coach, Pieta-Claire Hepperlin, said it was very much like an Olympic opening, only a little smaller. Our girls got to light the special tournament flame.

The 14 girls, their support crew and 20 families and friends were there at the opening of the ceremony, wearing their boxing-kangaroo boxer shorts. So good was their chanting that they opened the competition by winning the chanting competition with the best war-cry, complete with made-in-Australia boxer shorts. For winning that, they were featured on Danish TV.

Down to the soccer—and this is the important bit: when you are talking about an under-14 team that travels to the other side of the world, they did not go with too many expectations. They thought it would be nice to get a win or two and make a good showing, but they surprised everyone by winning game after game. At the end of each day, they seemed to have kicked the winning goal.

They were so well received that, as other teams were eliminated, they joined our guys in supporting the Woden Valley football club Globetrotters. Groups of Norwegians, Swedes, Danes and even the local team, Fortuna, which was tipped to win but was sidelined by the Aussies, joined our support side.

They battled it out against Switzerland in the semi-final. They were not expected to win, but they did. To their credit, they made it to the final of one of Europe’s largest tournaments. Unfortunately, in the final, the puff ran out. The team that they played against adapted their style in some fairly inhospitable and squally conditions. As the girls themselves said, they simply ran out of steam.

The score line was close, a 2-1 loss. The Globetrotters were very disappointed but at the end of the day realised that, for a group of under-14 year-old girls from Woden Valley, to make it to the grand final of the largest youth soccer tournament in the world was an amazing achievement in its own right.

Since returning home, the Woden Valley Globetrotters have been nominated for team of the year in the ACT clubs awards. They won the Kanga Cup final.

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