Subscribe

Expect tough games when the girls European Division I, II, III and IV high school soccer tournaments open Wednesday morning at seven sites in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

“In our division, there are some very good teams — especially (defending European Division I champion) Ramstein, ISB, K-town and us,” said Jim McCauley, coach of Division I regular-season champion Heidelberg.

McCauley’s Lady Lions went through the regular season unbeaten, and even picked up a victory over the No. 1 seed in Division II, perennial power Patch.

But McCauley is under no illusions that his squad can dance through the tournament, which runs through Saturday.

“It’s going to be a close battle,” he said. “We’ve got to be ready.”

Patch, too, will have to be ready. The II-South champion Lady Panthers ended their season with a 1-1 home tie against Hanau, and enter into a field that includes two unbeaten teams: Italy champion Aviano and II-North titlist Mannheim.

Patch coach Tom Manuel and Mannheim coach John Crockett see Division II the same way McCauley views Division I.

“Looking at the records, lots of teams could do lots of things this year,” Manuel said by telephone Tuesday morning. “Mannheim’s good and Aviano’s got something to prove after last year.”

According to Crockett, “Even teams which didn’t finish strongly can do well. Patch and Aviano are very good, and Hanau, with Kyri Bye-Nagel, is an awesome team.”

Naples, with a loss at Aviano and a tie at American Overseas School Rome the only blots on its season, also could challenge.

In Division III, III-South rivals Hohenfels and Bamberg tied for the league crown and are likely to renew that struggle. Also joining the fray will be defending champion Sigonella and AOSR, which rebounded from a 7-0 season-opening defeat at Aviano by going unbeaten the rest of the way.

“The Division III-South teams are notorious for being tough on each other,” Hohenfels coach Kathy Clemmons said. “And Sigonella is always strong, whatever their record.”

In Division IV, which reappears only at tournament time, defending champion Brussels leads the contenders.

Spurred by Michelle Rosas (12 goals in six games), Brussels lost to only Division I International School of Brussels all season. The Lady Brigands will be challenged by Lajes, toughened by a season of contests against local Portuguese teams, Iceland and Ankara.

Pool play begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at four sites in the Ramstein area — Ramstein High School, two fields in the nearby town of Hutschenhausen and another in the town of Nanzdietschweiler, and three in the Kaiserslautern area — two at Kapaun Air Station and one at Vogelweh.

Heidelberg’s McCauley can’t wait.

“The regular season’s over,” he said. “Now it’s time for the fun-for-all to start.”

DODDS-Europe girls soccer championships

Teams listed in order of seeding

Division I — Heidelberg, Ramstein, Kaiserslautern, International School of Brussels, Lakenheath, Wiesbaden, Würzburg.

Division II — Patch, Aviano, Hanau, Mannheim, Naples, AFNORTH, Bitburg, Black Forest Academy, Vilseck, SHAPE.

Division III — Hohenfels, Bamberg, Sigonella, American Overseas School of Rome, Marymount International School of Rome, Ansbach, Vicenza, Baumholder.

Division IV — Brussels, Milan, Giessen, Menwith Hill, Iceland, Alconbury, Lajes, Ankara.

Championship games

(At Ramstein High School)

Division I — 4:30 p.m. Friday

Division II — 4 p.m. Saturday

Division III — Noon Saturday

Division IV — 12:30 p.m. Friday

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up