Mikhaela represents Australian football in Hawaii

Ascham student Mikhaela Lirantzis represented both her club, Sydney University, and also Australia recently when she competed in the 27th Annual Aloha International Cup in Hawaii. Here, Mikhaela reports on her wonderful trip.

‘During Term 2 holidays, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to represent my club, Sydney University, and represent Australia – being the only Australian team invited to attend the 27th Annual Aloha International Cup, held 19–22 July in Oahu, Hawaii. We also attended a three-day intensive training course at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. The objective at the camp was not only to improve on my technical and tactical football skills but also to be evaluated by some of the nation’s top college coaches in the country.

The camp entailed three days of exceptional training with world-class soccer coaches that were not only assessing our soccer talent but also leadership on and off the field to offer college scholarships to the University of Hawaii. Within the three days we had sessions running from three to six hours and although it was mentally and physically draining, it improved my soccer skills and fitness levels as I had to endure long sessions in intense heat/humidity.

The Aloha International Cup is sanctioned by the Hawaii Youth Soccer Association, US Youth Soccer and the United States Soccer Federation. The tournament was held at the world-class Waipio Soccer Complex, located near Pearl Harbour. Waipio Soccer Park is impressive to say the least. It has 21 fields and a 4000-seat soccer specific stadium. The pitches are world class and are the maximum size within the FIFA requirements.

Within four days we played five games and after enduring the extreme heat and fatigue of the training camp taking place prior to the tournament, we came third out of impressive international teams from Denmark, Guam, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Sweden and Canada, along with American teams from California, New Mexico, Oregon, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Arizona, Utah, Virginia, Seattle, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, and of course the Hawaiian National team.

Overall, this experience was definitely a memorable one that will forever benefit my on field football skills as well as my on and off field leadership. To top it off I was awarded the coach’s award for the whole tour based on my consistent efforts throughout the camp, tournament and my leadership over the two weeks. This trip inspired me to keep working hard as I know there is a real possibility my passion can lead me to places I would’ve never thought, like the University of Hawaii. This opportunity will continue to motivate my football and academics.’

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