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Plum soccer players will represent U.S. in European tournaments

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Ali Gipson and Addie Jacobs, rising juniors on the Plum varsity girls soccer team, are used to donning purple and gold for the Mustangs.

In August, however, they will put on the red, white and blue to represent the United States in two European tournaments.

Stars 'N Stripes International Soccer Tours, based in Dallas, will field multiple teams in several age-group categories.

“This is an extremely exciting opportunity for both Addie and I,” Gipson said.

“It's great that we can be together for this. We're so supportive of each other, and we push each other. It should be the experience of a lifetime.”

“I am really excited,” Jacobs said. “I am just glad and grateful to be given this opportunity.”

There are expected to be eight or nine teams at the U17 girls level. Gipson and Jacobs will join top players from all over the United States, including Colorado, Louisiana, Texas and Florida.

“It should work out pretty well and pretty fast,” Jacobs said. “We have a common love of soccer, and we will all be on the same mission. The talent level and maturity of each player is high.”

The team will have a couple of days of training in Texas before heading to Europe.

“I've played with the same group of girls my whole soccer career, so it will be an interesting and great experience to play with a new bunch of girls from different states,” Gipson said.

“I am very confident we can bond together quickly and do well in the tournaments. This is serious business, so I know we will be focused.”

Gipson and Jacobs were selected for the trip by Ed Puskarich, executive director of the Stars 'N Stripes International Soccer Tours, after seeing the players perform during a camp he ran for the Plum team.

Rising junior Christine Tamburri and rising sophomore Nicolette Casarcia also were selected to go to Europe, but both will be unable to participate because of knee injuries.

“It's a real bummer because the more people you have, the more fun it is,” Jacobs said. “They will have a good chance to go next year, but it really stinks they can't go with us this year.”

The team players will train in Dallas from July 7-9, then head to Europe on July 10. Training camp in Europe will be July 11-14, with the Gothia Cup, the first of two tournaments the team will play, slated for July 14 -20 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Gothia Cup is one of the world's largest youth tournaments, with about 1,700 teams from more than 80 nations competing.

“I'm just looking forward to experiencing everything,” Gipson said. “I am excited to go to Sweden because my parents went there a couple of years ago. Just to be there for the opening of the Gothia Cup in a big stadium in front of all those people and to represent my country will be amazing.”

The team then will transfer to the second tournament, the Dana Cup, scheduled for July 22-27 in Denmark.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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