Andrea Chaney headed to Australia |

Andrea Chaney headed to Australia

Dave Price

Over the past 10 years, Andrea Chaney has played in some big soccer games all around Nevada and the West Coast. Now, she’s getting ready to take her game across the Pacific.

Chaney, who graduated from Douglas High School on Saturday, is preparing for a two-week People to People Sports Ambassadors soccer tour of New Zealand and Australia. She will join 35 other 16-18 year old age group players for the tour, which departs on July 1. The group will go through a one-week training camp in New Zealand and then go on to play in the FIFA-sanctioned Kanga Cup II tournament in Canberra, Australia.

“I’m very, very excited. It’s a big honor to be able to do this,” Chaney said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to go see Australia and to play soccer. I’m sure I will learn a lot over there.”

Chaney has been busy taking care of business for the People to People Sports Ambassadors program. To qualify for the tour, she needed three letters of recommendation, obtain her passport and attend information meetings in Reno. She has also been busy trying to raise $3,500 to cover expenses.

A considerable amount of effort, but then again, this is something special for a young player who has already experienced some memorable highlights in soccer. She began playing with the INXS spring soccer club in 1992, qualified for a berth on the 1994 Nevada state girls team that went to an Olympic Development Program training camp in Boise, Idaho.

She played this spring for a Greg Davis-coached Capital City Alliance soccer club. The team won a tournament in Concord and finished third during the Great Basin League season. Chaney and Kali Schmidt drove to the Bay area for the Concord tournament after their prom night last month — Chaney scored one goal and helped set up the game-winner for Capital Alliance in its semifinal victory against a talented all-star Diablo Valley Soccer Club.

Chaney also played on Douglas High School’s Northern 4A Regional Tournament championship team as a junior in 2000. The 5-foot-4 forward even had the opportunity to celebrate her 16th birthday on Nov. 2 with a goal midway through the second half that gave Douglas a 1-0 victory against Galena in the regional tournament semifinals.

After Chaney returns from Australia, there won’t be a lot of time before she has to start preparing for her next trip. Her next destination is the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“It’s, like, the best place to go,” she said. “It’s right by the ocean, so I can go to the beach, play soccer and go to school.”

Playing soccer for Hawaii will represent a considerable challenge — the Wahine averaged 1,129 fans per match at their home Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium in 2001, the 10th best mark in NCAA Division I soccer — but she remains optimistic.

“I love soccer,” she said. “It’s always been a big part of my life and I hope it continues to be a big part of my life.”