Day 6 Review – Phoebe, Kobe, Rhium, and Zayden
An incredible day. We say goodbye to London, and arrive in Liverpool for a training session with Ray Hall.
Life long Everton fan Ray Hall joined the Everton staff in 1991, serving almost over 20 years of leading and guiding young footballers to achieving their destiny at the higher level, Ray Hall has seen players from this generations Everton team grow up through the ranks including some big names of the likes of Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and even ex Everton starlet Wayne Rooney one of those big names.
Ray Hall was glad to retire on a high as he saw his team finish top of the F.A Academy Premier League this year topping it all off for the Everton veteran.
Although Ray Hall’s time at Everton has been long and ever so sweet, ! he himself will admit he has witnessed some sad times seeing many managerial departures over the many years he has served, seeing managers such as, Mike Walker, Joe Royle, Howard Kendall (again), Walter Smith and now, David Moyes.
In this current football climate, club’s all over Europe depend on a good youth system, Ray Hall believed it had a sense of added value towards a club, he said ‘Academies gave a more professional value to youth development. It almost became an autonomous department within football clubs.’
Ray Hall will always remain in the hearts of Everton football club as a legend and an international ambassador of the club and academy, where he can reflect on the ever so nearly two decade duration he has spent at the club.
We started our 6 hour drive departure from London to Liverpool at around 9 am. On our drive, I noticed the scenery in the country area of the UK was fairly like the area of Central California but without the mass amounts of agriculture and with green scenery. Once we arrived in Liverpool, the city area compared to London seemed much more modern and clean. The city was banked right next to the River Mersey. After checking into our hotel, we went to training with legendary Coach Ray Hall. Surprisingly, our warm up was based on more motor skills warm ups. For example we played tag but when players held possession of the ball, they were not allowed to get tagged. When they did not have the ball, they were able to get tagged. This forced us to scan the field to help throw the ball to other teammates for them to not get tagged.
After our warm up, Coach Ray had us practice a simple drill that involved touching the ball a lot. We would kick the ball against the fence surrounding the field and receive it and then pass it back in different ways; trapping the ball so it rolled to the outside of our body; rolling the ball across our body; and even a move from futsal where we could stop the ball and roll it. He told us that when he played as a midfielder, he would probably touch the ball around 30 times in a game. But here in practice, we had probably touched the ball at least 30 times for each different drill. He emphasized that while in game experience was important, practice was where you truly improved your technique and it was really necessary. The next drill was in groups of 3, where each person stood at one side of a square. The person with the ball would pass it and run to the empty side of the sqaure. Coach Ray helped us play smarter by reminding us to keep our hips open to the ball even while running to the empty side of the square and looking before passing. After a few more exercises, we ended early and Coach Ray left us with some closing words.
There were 3 things he wanted us to learn (as a minimum).
- It’s football. Not soccer
- Play with a smile on your face
- Play with a chuckle in your boot
Overall, this training session was very engaging and motivating, and gave us new perspectives of the game.