Top world military athletes arrive at Fort Bliss for soccer championship

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Elite military soccer players from around the world competed at Fort Bliss, Texas over 11 days to determine the best of the best at the 2018 CISM World Military Women’s Football Championship.

The tournament, featuring teams from Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, and the U.S. played out on the pitch at Stout Field June 22-July 3. The opening ceremony was held June 21, followed by a meet-and-greet attended by athletes and event organizers.

Brigadier Gen. Martin Kizito Ong’oyi, representing CISM’s president, led remarks welcoming players and supporters alike.

“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all the participants and officials to this particular event. We value your support for this visit,” he said. “We are here to share friendship through sport. As we play, let us be polite. As you enjoy playing the game in the next two weeks, please take time to be sure you learn to know one and other very well, on and off the field.”

Fort Bliss Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Murphy made a historical observation connecting Fort Bliss to CISM’s values.

“It’s quite interesting and worth noting that Gen. John Pershing, no stranger to Fort Bliss, would be the force behind attempts to break down cultural and political barriers, and promote friendship and morale amongst service members through sport as far back as 1919. It was his foresight and vision in recognizing the value of sport that eventually lead to the establishment of the CISM,” Murphy noted.

The championship tournament was conducted in a group stage format to determine the champions of the event, playing toward bronze and gold medal matches Tuesday.

The CISM Sports program is the culmination of each nation’s military service’s sports and fitness programs. Service members compete at elite levels to advance to the global stage where they can seek victories in international competitions.