UK Trip 2022 – Day 3 – Football in the Community

Each day a review was written by a group of the traveling players, and they will share their insights and thoughts. Todays events included a training session with a local club, St Matthews. What was incredibly important and grounding about the experience was the role the club played in the community.

Friday was a free day to play, with anyone from the community invited to play, and usually over 100 kids take up the opportunity. What is so vitally important is the reason… it’s not to recruit, or market, or monopolize on fields; the purpose is to attract young kids to play football so they can then feed them. Knowing the kids come from a lower income background, the club was being part of the community in providing food when it could, and through football, as this is the passion of so many. They didn’t care for the latest acronym league, or traveling excessive hours for a game; they cared about the community and how they could support it.

Day 3 Review – Ava, Rohan, and Nyan

We started off the day with some English breakfast options (sausage, beans & toast, tomato & mushrooms, pastries, cold cuts, and more) at the hotel before heading off to training.

Today we got to train with St. Matthews Football Club, their coaches led warm-up with a team decision-making game that allowed us to get to know their players. Next, we jumped into a “dribble through the gates” game with two teams and got to see the ball handling skills of St. Matthews FC. Lastly, we played full field matches with three teams on rotation until time ran out. The difference between soccer/football culture in the UK vs. USA was extremely apparent during today’s training. St. Mathews FC also gifted us one of their jerseys to take home, which will find it’s new home in the office once we return, and is very much appreciated! Overall, it was a great training session and fantastic experience; we can’t wait for our next training session!

Next up, we headed back to the hotel to clean up and grab lunch at The Globe!

A Players Account of Crystal Palace vs Arsenal

We left to watch the premier league match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park, London. The stadium was about an hour drive from the hotel. The atmosphere was quite amazing, and much different than a regular MLS game. There was a wide variety of chants that were shouted left and right, and overall was a joy to be apart of. The fans were extremely  loyal and anticipated every chance crystal palace got with passion. The game ended in a defeat for the eagles, 2-0. Overall, the experience was great and was an honor to be a part of crystal palace’s amazing fan-base. We look forward to attending more premier league games in the future.

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