Tallahassee, FL - Soccer is a universal sport. It connects athletes thousands of miles away from different countries. The Chiles girls soccer team had that international experience earlier this week.
For the fourth straight year, they hosted the Japanese Football Academy. It's Morgan Overstreet's third year collaborating with the effort, but she's still meeting new girls.
"They want to be over here and they want to experience these things," the junior midfielder said. "They're from a place where they're together all the time."
But for a few days, they're separated, interacting with new roommates.
Their academy, based out of Shizuoka, Japan, is equivalent to a year-round boarding school.
"Our object of our academy is educate the player to achieve the international level," JFA Coach Hawadashi Gun said.
The idea is to create some of the best female players in their country.
"The purpose of us coming here is not just coming to the United States," said Yo Tachibana, a 15-year-old midfielder for JFA, "but to experience different types of cultures, different types of foods. But, as a team, it helps us get better by playing different types of styles."
Soccer is the common denominator driving Chiles and JFA to the same goal, improving and extending their careers.
"Soccer is played by everyone in the world," Tachibana said. "So by coming here to play soccer it widens our world, it widens our opportunities."
"I wouldn't play if I didn't wish for higher dreams and had higher goals," Overstreet said.