Top soccer girls ready for action

WHILE the nation's football population is still hurting after the controversial exit of the Socceroos from the World Cup, Australia's next wave of young Matildas have their minds firmly focused on the Qantas Girls National Youth Championships kicking off next week in Coffs Harbour.

Hosted by Northern NSW Soccer Federation, the Championships will be held at the Coffs Harbour International Stadium across eight days of competition commencing on Saturday.

More than 400 players, in 19 teams will compete for the Under 15 and Under 17 titles, with the Championships a traditional selection venue for Australia's top female players.

Following an invitation from the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), a New Zealand Under 17 team will also be participating.

Northern NSW Soccer Operations Manager Alan Nisbet said the Championships are a coup for the Northern NSW Federation and for the development of football on the North Coast.

"These championships have traditionally been held in Sydney, however with the support of Coffs Harbour Council, the Federation was successful in its submission to the FFA to host the Championships and we have been given this opportunity for the next three (3) years, up to an including 2008," Nisbet said.

"We will also host the Qantas National Championships for junior boys at Coffs Harbour later in the year but for now the focus is on showcasing the best junior female football talent from across Australia and across the Tasman."

An official opening ceremony for the Championships will be conducted at the Stadium on Saturday morning from 8.30 with the first matches due to kick off at 9.45am.

A full competition draw, along with updated results from all matches will be available on the Northern NSW Soccer Federation website at, during the competition.

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