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Opportunity Knocks For Glasgow City
The chance to play at the highest level comes along to relatively few players and Glasgow City are about to join the select band.
Glasgow City make history tonight when the become the first Scottish women's club to play in the Champions league last 32. Not too bad for a side established in 1998. Glasgow City have won the Scottish Women's Football Premier League for the last fours years on the trot with their other win in 2004-05 and been runners up expect in their first two years of existence. A side not to be taken lightly in the Scottish game but in Europe, as some of the male sides have found, it is a whole different ball game. The eve of the game press conference for the game against Valur Reykjavik allowed the home side coach, Eddie Black, to explain just what it means to play at this level for a club that is still relatively young. Black said: "I think it is a fulfilment of all the hard work over last season and that is how we are here. It means everything and we are looking forward to what will be a very competitive tie. You would have to speak to the players to hear how much they have sacrificed to play at this level but this is my full-time job so it is all or nothing for me. These girls give everything in way of social lives and missed family events that are very important to them to make sure they do not let their team-mates down." City vice-captain Leanne Ross did not think it was a sacrifice to play. She went on: "I don't think it is about giving anything up. I think we play for the love of the game and if we didn't love it we wouldn't do it. With the benefits we gain from the training at the club that everybody is willing to put in the time and the effort and we definitely get the rewards for the efforts. One of the rewards is playing in the Champions League. It's what you want to do; play at the highest level. For us as a team it is amazing to go this far." The club are hoping the publicity that the game has been given will generate a level of interest to put the ground capacity to the test, with the prospect of them coming back for more in the way of domestic football. Black is hoping for a sell out crowd to get right behind City against the side from Reykjavik. He said: "I would hope so. We have certainly been the subject of a large amount of media coverage and we have publicised (the game) by our own efforts to get as many of the public along as possible. Hopefully it will be a good show to see two very good sides in action." The Valur club is a bit older and more experienced in the Champions League and made the last eight in 2005 and the last 32 in the previous two seasons. Some of the Valur players are semi-pro but not full time with the club helping as much as they can while the women find other jobs to help along the way. The club was formed 100 years ago as part of an athletic club so very much the elder statesman against the whippersnappers from Glasgow. Like all good clubs, in preparation for tonight's game the coach, Gunnar Borgthorsson, and his staff have been doing their homework on City: He explained: "We have been watching videos and obviously it's hard to get to know a team that way. We don't know what to expect as you cannot analysis a team good enough by video and we were not able to send a scout to Glasgow ahead of the game. However, we think are well prepared."
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