FROM UKRAINE TO DALLAS
The Dallas Texans International Girls Cup sure lives up to its name.
Last spring, as the war in Ukraine began, tournament officials partnered with the Ukrainian Club of Dallas. During the festive opening ceremonies, as every club marched with banners and flags, Cup organizers announced a fundraiser. The goal was to bring a Ukrainian soccer team to the 2023 tourney.
Contributions poured in. In just two months, donors covered airfare for a team of girls, and their coaches.
This April, FC Chornomorets Odesa will march with more than 200 of the most competitive teams in the world, at the Dallas Texans International Girls Cup.
Founded in 1936 as Dynamo Odesa, the men’s side has battled for the championship of the Ukrainian Men’s Premier Soccer League.
In 2019 coach Viacheslav Obeziuk created a girls squad, with players ages 10 to 12. The invasion interrupted the team’s growth. But Obeziuk never got discouraged.
“This is a horror for our country,” he notes. “Because of the war, 70% of the girls had to go abroad. Despite everything, we resumed training soon. Constant air raids, rocket attacks – nothing will break our soccer spirit.”
Despite concerns for their families and the unstable situation at home, in July Chornomorets traveled to Denmark for the Dana Cup International Tournament.
They returned to their ravaged nation with two cups. The girls U-14 team finished as runners-up, at one of the biggest tournaments in the world.
Now – thanks to the invitation of the Dallas Texans International Girls Cup, and the generosity of many donors -- they’ll showcase their skills and spirit on the American stage.
“Their dreams of becoming professional players stay alive,” Coach Obeziuk says with pride.
(The Dallas Texans International Girls Cup is the largest girls-only international tournament in the United States. Over 150 of the most competitive girls teams from around the globe will play at 15 top-notch grass fields in Farmers Branch, from April 5-9. Many will enjoy home stays with local teams. Last year’s event drew over 100 college coaches. The event is organized by Premier International Tours. For more information, click on www.DallasInternationalGirlsCup.org.)