Chestnut Hill Men's Soccer: Postcards From London
London, England – (August 13, 2012) – The Chestnut Hill College men's soccer team touched down in jolly, olde England early on Monday, August 6, and immediately began a whirlwind tour through the city's historical sites before taking in an Olympic women's soccer semifinal match at the legendary Wembley Stadium.
Check back throughout the trip to stay up-to-date on the men's soccer team's England experience.
Leicester, England – (8/9/2012) - On Thursday we started off with a good pool session with Johnny to help get our legs stretched out and all. Afterwards we hung out at the hotel for a little, and then made our way into the town. We got to walk around Leicester and explore some of the different shops and gear they had to offer. A lot of the soccer and Olympic gear we found here was a lot less expensive than what we would have paid for back home, so many of us took advantage of it. There was a shopping mall there and tons of different kinds of shops and cafes, so it was cool to be able to walk around and talk to some of the people who are local to there. Across the street was a college that had ping-pong tables outside of it, so many of the guys played towards the end of our time there. We realized that Colin Boyle should've probably stayed in London for the ping-pong section of the Olympics. After we were done shopping we returned back to the hotel to eat and prepare for our game. We then travelled to our match against Harborough Town. The facilities were nice and so were all the people there. We played a much better game today, and fought for a 1-1 tie. Bobby Stocklin scored the lone goal for us. We adapted much better today to the very physical play that people are accustomed to here in England. Afterwards, we got to socialize and eat with the boys from their team. It was cool to learn a bit about them and some of the things they're accustomed to.
Senior – Goalkeeper
Liverpool England – (8/8/2012) - To start off our third day of our tour to England, we were immediately rushed with anxious energy when we pulled into Everton's first team training facilities. To the right was the "professional parking" lot, where Stephen Peynar's custom Aston Martin was parked, along with many other luxurious and expensive cars. There were many grass fields, and a gated in-full artificial field with many goals, various sizes. There we met two of Everton's trainers, Robby, who has been there for 15 years, and Colin, who has been there for 7 years. Robby trained Wayne Rooney, English football star who started out in Everton's academy and then moved onto their first team before being purchased by Manchester United, where he is currently a star. The training session we experienced was fantastic. The coaches went through what their entire academy program goes through, from around the ages 5-18. We went through an intense warm-up, a great ball touch workout, onto 1-on-1's, then expanded that to 2-on-2 and 3-on-3, moved onto a shooting drill which involved defense, and finished with a scrimmage. The workout and training was great, and we also had time to talk to the coaches briefly about their academy program and how they ran things. We also had the advantage of using their reserve locker room.
After the Everton training, we traveled to Liverpool where we were able to sit first row behind the net of the historic Anfield Stadium. We were given a tour by two workers, who talked all about the stadiums history, its current sponsor and work that is done on a daily basis, and the different celebrities that own box seats and whatnot. We even were able to bag some of the freshly cut grass that was removed off of the field. We then ate lunch at "The Boot Room" which as a restaurant dedicated to the club's history.
To finish off the day, we traveled to Brocstedes Park, where we had a match against Ashton Athletic FC. The game resulted in a 2-1 loss for us, but we played very well as a team, and it was a tremendous experience, regardless of the outcome. We had the opportunity to experience what it was like to play against a full English squad, with old styled dugouts, and a full English referee staff. It was amazing to see the different style, speed, and overall skill and ability of an English club as opposed to the normal competition we are used to in our conference and in America in general.
Sophomore – Midfield
London, England – (8/7/2012) - After a long flight and little sleep, the team was able walk around Piccadilly Circus; see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London. We then went to watch France versus Japan in an Olympic women's semifinal soccer game at the iconic Wembley Stadium. Today, Tuesday, August 7, was another busy and exciting day in which Bobby Stocklin was finally able to see his favorite club's home stadium, The Emirates of Arsenal FC. We were able to stand feet from the pitch, sit in the Gunner's locker room, and listen to some history about the club. We then travelled to Manchester where we watched Brazil versus Korea in and Olympic men's semifinal, Brazil won 3-0. Being able to watch a game at such a historic site, Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, was such an experience. We are all now resting up for a long day tomorrow which includes our first training session at Everton Football Club and our first match versus Ashton Athletic. Overall, the team is doing well and we are looking forward to a full night's sleep!