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Next stop: China, for this Port Moody girls soccer team

The first International School Sports Federation World Cup will be played in Dalian, China, in May.

A team of young Port Moody soccer players is getting ready to represent Canada at the first International School Sport Federation (ISF) World Cup in Dalian, China, May 17-27.

But getting there will take lots of hard work, on and off the pitch.

The Port Moody Soccer Club’s U16 girls team will be among more than 30 boys and girls sides in three age categories from 29 countries competing in the inaugural tournament that is scheduled to be held every two years as a complement to the ISF World School Championships that have been held 27 times since they started in 1972.

Coach Emily Kirkham said the chance to play opponents from around the world in showcase venues like the 63,000-seat Dalian Suoyuwan Football Stadium is a “monumental achievement” for the team.

“I’m incredibly excited for the opportunities and experiences that await them on this global stage,” she said.

Getting there is going to take some big bucks, though, as teams have to cover registration costs for players, coaches and team officials, a delegation head as well as at least one referee along with travel and accommodation costs.

To fill the coffers, players have already been selling chocolate bars and doughnuts, along with a 50/50 draw.

More fundraisers are planned including a pub night at Rewind Beer Co. in Port Moody, April 17 from 6 to 9 p.m., and a Krispy Kreme doughnut sale on April 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside Thrifty’s Foods in Suter Brook Village.

As well, players are selling Purdy’s chocolates and collecting returnable bottles to help put a dent in the $10,000 still required to make the trip happen. Donations can also be made through the BC Amateur Sports Fund.

The ISF acts as the umbrella organization and governing body for national school sports groups around the world.

It’s recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and has 134 member countries across five continents that compete in more than 30 different sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball and even orienteering. It also offers education programs for phys-ed teachers, coaches, officials and national school sport representatives.