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Daniels takes third in Ford Escape Soccer Challenge

Tianna Daniels, 11, took third place in the Ford Escape Regional Soccer Challenge in Blaine, Minn. She will spend the winter months playing for the Shattuck-St. Mary's U13 team.

West Fargo resident Tianna Daniels, who plays for the Fargo Soccer Club, recently took third place at the Ford Escape Regional Soccer Challenge in Blaine, Minn.

She was also invited to join the renowned soccer program at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minn., and will play for its U13 team during the winter months. She is the only girl from North Dakota to receive this honor.

Tianna, 11, lives in West Fargo with her parents Kelvin, who also coaches her for the Fargo Soccer Club, and Teri Daniels, along with their dog, Lilly, and guinea pig, Bert. She is a sixth-grader at Cheney Middle School and has a passion for the world's most popular sport.

"She watches soccer every week," Kelvin said. "The day after watching a game, you will see her practicing the moves she saw on TV the night before."

Tianna earned a total score of 273 in the competition, which assessed the skills of players, including toe taps and dribbling. Her score was better than all but two of the 115 participants in her age group from North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

She took first place in the Ford state competition - sponsored by Luther Family Ford, who is also helping to send her to Shattuck-St. Mary's - in early September, which enabled her to advance to the regional event.

Tianna has been playing soccer since the age of four, and is one of the top players in the state in her age group.

"Even as a toddler, it was fun to see her natural instinct with any ball was not to pick it up and throw it, but rather to dribble it around with her feet and kick it across the yard," Teri said. "We remember watching her and thinking 'we might have a soccer player.'"

She wears the number 10 in honor of Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC and Shannon Brooks of the NDSU women's soccer team, where she hopes to play after high school. She participates in the Dakota Olympic Development Program, and hopes to one day make the U.S. Women's National Team and play in the Olympics.

Besides soccer, Tianna enjoys reading, fishing, drawing, playing the flute and spending time with her friends.