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WASHINGTON, DC (11 June 2011) - The United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, DC and the Philadelphia Independence announced today that they will host the UAE Women's Soccer Program for a 21-day visit to the United States this summer.
The partnership will offer a program of joint coaching and training sessions, visits to several area youth clubs and community service activities in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.
"I am delighted to provide the opportunity for young UAE women soccer players to play with their US counterparts" said Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US.
"Sport is a wonderful tool to promote greater understanding between US and Emirati culture. By interacting with US players during training sessions and scrimmages, as well as meeting with other community leaders, the UAE team will hone their soccer skills while also educating Americans about the Emirates", he added.
The UAE women’s soccer team is currently an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. Since 2008 team members have played on club teams and for the national team, winning matches throughout the region and playing friendly matches in Europe.
"We are pleased that the UAE Embassy has extended this invitation to the UAE team, and are looking forward to training with the Philadelphia Independence and other US women’s soccer clubs," said Ambassador Hafsa Al Ulama, Chairwoman of the UAE Women’s Football Committee. "The team’s trip to the US marks a significant step forward in the development of women’s soccer in the UAE."
David Halstead, owner and CEO of The Philadelphia Independence, a WPS franchise, echoed Ambassador Al Otaiba and Ambassador Al Ulama’s enthusiasm by saying, "All of the Independence players, coaches, and staff are excited about the opportunity to cultivate this relationship through women's soccer," says "We're impressed with the vision of the UAE to strengthen its soccer program for Emirati women, as well as the Nation's commitment to create an elite team that competes successfully at the international level. We're delighted to be part of something that bolsters opportunities for women around the world and spreads passion for the game."
The UAE women’s soccer team will arrive in the US in late June and remain in the country until mid-July. During that time, the team will train alongside players from the Philadelphia Independence as well as participate in other training academies. The team will also scrimmage other US teams from the Philadelphia and Washington, DC areas.