DUBBO soccer sisters Ashleigh and Nicole Sykes are set to showcase their skills on the world stage next week when they travel to Japan to play in a womens' world club challenge.
The twins will travel as part of the Canberra United squad, with last season's W-League winners set to face a pair of Japanese club sides as well as UEFA Women's Champions League winners Olympique Lyonnais.
The trip will add to a busy period for Canberra United, who currently sit second on this season's W-League ladder after four rounds of competition following two wins and two draws.
Last weekend they drew 1-1 with competition newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers, which features fellow Dubbo junior Vanessa Hart and upon returning they will have matches against Sydney FC and Perth within the space of a week.
"It's a bit of a rough schedule but we will be playing against some of the best players in the world so we're excited about it," Nicole Sykes said.
“Ash hurt her quad last week against Western Sydney but hopefully she will be right to go over as well because we have a lot of younger girls in the side this year and she is one of our key players.
“The Japanese sides both have a lot of internationals and the French side also has players that have played at that level so it will be good to play against them and take on the different styles they will play.”
As well as the Sykes girls, Canberra has a further central west connection through midfielder Sammie Wood, who hails from Grenfell, while Hart is looking to make her mark with the competition’s newest side.
According to Sykes, the region is starting to grow as a breeding ground for top-level players.
“Vanessa came off the bench for them last week against us and she looked sharp, which is a good sign for soccer in the bush,” Sykes said.
“In that game we had three players from Dubbo and one from Grenfell involved so it shows that if you have the talent and dedication, you can go from these areas and make it.
“I think coming from where we do, we always had to work that little bit harder to get noticed than the city kids but hopefully the number of girls in the league continues to grow and we can get more and more involved in playing soccer.”