THREE under-16 teams from the Avalon Soccer Club in Sydney will face perhaps their toughest challenge of a visit to Vanuatu Thursday and Friday, when they play the Vanuatu national women’s teams.
So far the girls have been impressed with the standard of football played by local teams and the skills and enthusiasm of the players.
They have played friendlies against local teams at Manua College and Epule village in north Efate, as well as a local team on Pele island.
Coach Lyndal Carruthers said the girls have really enjoyed the experience.
“The games have been joyous, just so much fun,” she said.
“The local players are very good – we were told they would be, but they haven’t had the benefit of structured training like we do, so we were impressed with the high standard and their skills.”
Avalon B team representative Gina said they played against Manua College’s boys’ and girls’ teams on Friday and they proved tough opponents.
“On the second day we played the Epule village women’s team and they were really good,” she said. “The local players are really talented.”
Bronte from the Avalon A team agreed, saying: “They were tough opponents but it was great fun.”
Coach Carruthers the local teams play a very different style of football from what the Aussies are used to.
“They play in bare feet so they have great ball control,” she said.
“And they play a very aerial style of game; they keep the ball high and they use all of their bodies, whereas we are used to playing more along the ground level.
“Also they are used to playing on bumpy land – we’re hoping the pitch at Stade will be more like what we’re used to!”
She said the girls are really looking forward to playing the national teams.
“We will be challenged, for sure, but we’ll give it a good go,” she promised.
“We hope lots of people will come along to watch; it should be a great spectacle.”
The Avalon W16 B and C teams will play the Vanuatu U15 team on Thursday from 2pm at Stade, and on Friday at 2pm the A team will come up against the national Women’s team.
Entry to the stadium is free and everyone is invited to come along and cheer on the girls.