So far, the main subject of my blog is soccer. I’ve been asked by many (well, okay, no one has actually asked, but I imagine several of you have thought about it), “What is your soccer background, because you seem to know a bit about soccer.” That’s it exactly. I’m not an expert soccer commentator, I’m a “bit about soccer” commentator. As the premiere league soccer game noise is drifting from the living room to my computer, let me give you my soccer credentials.
I actually played a bit of soccer in high school, not much, but some. I’m not sure why I did, but probably because my friends were. In college, there was not a women’s team at Graceland University yet, but I was fortunate enough to play for the first women’s intramural soccer team. Why would I do this? Well, I’ll tell you. Graceland is a small private college in Iowa. Pickens are slim. When I first got there I noticed how good lookin’ the men’s soccer team was and what great hair they had (mullets, bowl-cuts, highlights). I was lucky enough to be noticed by one of these soccer studs, Peter (bowl-cut with highlights), my now husband. Yes, I played hard-to-get, but eventually our hair-dos were too attracted to each other, so I gave in. People often thought we were cousins because we had the same hair-do. Anyway, I digress, the Graceland men’s soccer team helped coach the women’s intramural soccer team. I don’t know how much actual soccer knowledge I picked up, but the soccer way-of-life sure sunk in (and helped my dating life). I really do love watching soccer, not only for the great hair and cute guys, but because it’s fast paced and truly a beautiful game.
My “bit about soccer” knowledge has grown since I’ve had kids. Each of my three kidos started playing when they were 4-years-old. That totals to seven years of kids soccer under my belt. As I get older, my “bit about soccer” knowledge gets bigger. My trip to England sure helped my “football” language and gave me lots of names and tid bits to plunk down when I need to sound soccer smart. I guess the moral to this blat (blog article), is every “bit about soccer” counts!
Today was a soccer-free day for the U12s (Patrick and Connor’s team) and the U14s (Zack’s team)! We headed to downtown London. We boarded a double decker tour bus and traveled around the city taking in all the sites. We got off at the Tower of London and saw where Queen Anne Bolyen lost her head and saw the current Queen’s Crown Jewels. After that we traveled to Buckingham Palace and walked through St. James Park. We did more shopping at LillyWhites and ended up back in Kingston at a great Italian restaurant for dinner. Once we got back it was time to start packing for our flight tomorrow. We had a wonderful trip. Full of soccer, history and most of all, friendship. I will always cherish this time with Patrick. I’m so proud of him and so honored to be his mom.
We fly out tomorrow. We can’t wait to see our family!!!!!!!
We started off the day with Jarrod Williams trying to take Patrick and Colin to tour the Fulham stadium. It was closed, however, but that didn’t stop them from visiting the Fulham store! Cari and I visited downtown Kingston. It was a lovely place, and yes, it had a Starbucks. Soon we met back up for lunch and headed to our next game against Milton Keynes Dons, or MK Dons. This game was played on a small field, indoors and with no refs. Not a good set-up. We ended up losing 1 to 9, our goal being a penalty kick. Patrick played Right Back, Right Wing and Center Mid throughout the game. He had several shots and chips on goal. Although they lost and had no calls called their way, Patrick still felt like he played a good game, which he did.
After a long bus ride home, we had a meeting in the University Student Pub and all the teams did skits. The U12s (Patrick and Connor’s team) won second place and the U13s won first. The two last place teams, U15 and U16 had to eat pigs blood pudding, or something like that. It was a lot of fun and great to see how all the boys have bonded.
Today we traveled only 8 miles away to play Wimbledon. We watched the U13’s play the Wimbledon U13 National Champions. Our U13’s did well, but lost. We played next. Patrick started at Right Back, moved to Right Wing and then for just a bit towards the end played Center Mid. It was a VERY hard game with us loosing 0 to 8. In the second half the other team put in three of their U13 National Champion players. We were already down by 6 or so when they did this. I don’t quite understand the English sometimes. The boys were pretty down, but not for long because Jarrod Williams was taking Patrick, Zack, and Connor to the ManU vs Chelsea game. They said they had a blast. They were all hoarse from yelling and singing. ManU won.
While the boys were at the ManU game, Cari and I went to Hampton Court Palace (http://www.hrp.org.uk/hamptoncourtpalace/). It was an amazing place. We ate up everything Henry VIII! I highly recommend it. We came home, ate dinner and tried to go to bed early. We are all exhausted keeping up with our busy schedule.
We had to wake up early today to eat a quick breakfast and load the coaches to travel to the University of Essex to play Colchester United. Our team really started to look like they were meshing. They played great. The game was divided into four 20 minutes quarters. In the first quarter, Patrick scored his first European goal on a penalty kick. He shot it low and to the left, while the keeper went to the right. It was a job well done! Patrick switched off throughout the game as Right Back and Right Wing. Also, throughout the game he used skill! He did a Maradona right by me and smoked a guy! The final score was 2 to 4 Colchester United. It should have been 3 to 3 because they didn’t count one of our goals and one of their goals was made off-sides. Even though the boys lost, they played great and are working together as a team. Can’t wait to see how they do at tomorrow’s game against Wimbledon.
After the game, we headed out to attend the West Ham United vs Deportivo La Coruna game. This was the final game of the SBobet Tournament. The score was 0-0 and ended in penalty kicks. West Ham ended up winning. It was a great experience that I think Patrick will remember for a long time.
After the game and our long bus ride home, because the bus driver got lost in London, we had a great dinner, did laundry, Skyped Peter and hung-out. Because everyone at the camp is doing so well, thier curfew was extended to 11:15pm.
Our last morning in Chester, we woke up and did our usual walk around the Roman City Walls. We, of course, stopped off at Starbucks and then had our last delightful breakfast at the university (wink, wink). We had to pack up and load the coaches for Birmingham City where most all the boy’s teams had games. We arrived at Birmingham’s complex which was nice, although the Parent Room only had one bathroom (not so nice). As we were waiting for the boys to change out of their polos and khakis, a premiere league player from Birmingham City (http://www.bcfc.com
), McFadden, got into his Lamborghini and drove off. I only saw his silhouette, but his car was pretty nice! Sorry no pictures. We were waiting to get permission for photographs at the time.
Patrick’s team, the U12’s, had a rough start to their game against Birmingham City. They are still trying to get to know each other and I think some are a bit intimidated by the competition. Patrick worked hard at Right Back the whole game and was really proud of how he played. Skill and moves are not highlighted, which is what he is used to. It is a lot of passing and kick-ball. Patrick and his buddy Connor are some of the youngest on the team. It’s a different ball game when your playing with older, stronger, bigger kids. The final score was 0 to 6, Birmingham. We were afraid the boys would be upset after the game, but they all were smiling and asked when we would get to London. My nephew, Zack’s team, the U14s, ending up tying their game, 2 to 2. Way to go, Z-Man!
From Birmingham City, we hopped back onto coaches and made our way towards London. It was about a 3 hour drive, with some of that time spent at Services (rest stop off the highway with fast food). All the boys were so excited to have American fast food, although Patrick ended up getting fish and chips…agian. Lucky for me, they had a Starbucks. As we entered London, we passed Hampton Court Palace (http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/stories.aspx
) where King Henry VIII lived at times. From the road it looked amazing. I hope we can visit it.
We arrived at Kingston University and unloaded and got our rooms. This is a very stressful, long process, but was well worth it because we have WiFi in our rooms!!!!! The U12s do not have a game tomorrow or training, so we hope to get around London a bit.