By Todd Stanford
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- Go West, young ladies.
That's just what 11 girls from the Selinsgrove area are doing next weekend. On Sunday, June 29, a U12 AYSO team from Selinsgrove will board a plane for California to compete in the AYSO National Games. The week-long tournament takes place in the Southern California cities of Torrance and Riverside.
"The girls have really come together," says Selinsgrove's George Davis, who coaches the team -- called the "River Rippers" -- with his wife Amy. "It's a real pleasure to watch them because you can tell they really want to be with each other."
Selinsgrove AYSO put in a bid for the trip last year and won a lottery for the right to send a team. Montoursville also won the right to send a U12 team, but declined the bid. A U10 team from Montoursville will play at the National Games.
"The girls are ecstatic," Amy Davis says. "I think they're a little nervous as well. ... Some are hoping that they're going to meet famous soccer players. Others are hoping they make new friends."
After months spent on fund-raising efforts, the girls can now just focus on playing.
"It's definitely a relief to know that all the finances are taken care of," George Davis says. "The parents have been very good in their dedication to the team with the fund-raising and getting them to practice. It's been a lot to ask of 12-year-old girls for the last year, and everyone has done well."
The team is guaranteed five games at the tournament, with a chance to advance to the semifinals. Before the games even begin, the players will be involved in "Soccerfest," in which the actual teams are dispersed for the day and players participate with new teams made up of girls from throughout the country.