Brandi Keightley playing soccer down under

"Got game . . . will travel," is the motto of SportsTours USA and Ilwaco eighth grader, Brandi Keightley, has adopted that motto in a big way. She is working toward being able to compete in soccer in the Festival of Sports in Sydney, Australia next July.

Brandi received an invitation to compete in Sydney through playing soccer this fall. Her goal, with the help of mom, Deanna Patterson, is to raise $3,600 so she can make the trip. SportsTours USA provides raffle tickets and Keightley earns 90 percent of the ticket price toward her expenses. Prizes include two tickets to the Super Bowl, Final Four, and NBA Finals.

Besides playing soccer in Sydney, Brandi is also looking forward to seeing the famous Opera House, maybe climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and seeing some kangaroos.

"I want to see the different sights, meet different people, and of course see a real live kangaroo," she says with a smile.

SportsTours USA has been around since 1984 and has helped 45,000 people see the world through sports competition in baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, swimming, tennis, golf, football, track, and soccer.

Young Keightley's itinerary will include a 15-hour flight to Australia from Portland via Los Angeles. She will practice two days with her team, compete for three days in a tournament, then attend an awards banquet. Sightseeing will be interspersed throughout her stay in Sydney.

"I'm excited about going, but kind of nervous, too," Brandi explains. "I don't know anyone on my team, but I have flown to Utah before and was away from home to go to the Dunes Bible Camp." While not exactly a week in Ocean Park, the trip to Australia is an opportunity Keightley is looking forward to. "This is a good opportunity to do something I love in another place and meet new people besides."

SportsTours USA will provide a college scholarship assistance program for Brandi when she leaves high school. "Basketball is actually my favorite sport. I would like to play in college some day. I love soccer, too. I've been playing soccer since I was five or six years old," she says.

If all goes well, she will be competing on the continent "down under" next summer and see a kangaroo to boot.

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