It is so hard for me to remember what I did earlier today, I need to remember to write things down. As it is I am nearly 2 months late with this blog post…where does the time go?
Cohen tried out in November and was asked to play on a “U11/12 Chicago National” team that was made up of boys from several area soccer clubs. Cohen only (really) knew one of his teammates. He had met a few others over the course of the past 3 years through the many camps and classes he has done through the Coerver organization. I only knew one of the other parents going on the trip…
After much debate – earlier in the winter, Tom and I decided I would accompany Cohen on his Coerver England tour. This was for a couple of reasons – I had never been to England and really wanted to go…and Tom goes their a lot and didn’t really want to go back. I was glad it worked out that way because really…how many chances will I have to spend that much one on one time with any of my kids. I was happy to go – happy to be in England – and happy to see him do what he loves most…eat, breathe and play soccer!!!
Cohen was packed up on July 25 (wasn’t packed until the day we left), and we left for England on July 26 (in the evening – a 9:55 pm flight). We met the other boys and their parents/families that night in the airport.
As an overview – I didn’t know what to expect. Here is what I knew…there were 11 boys on the team and they would be playing 4 friendly games of 9 v 9 soccer. They would have 2 training sessions…they had tickets to watch 1 professional game…and would be touring 3 stadiums.
Landing early afternoon in Manchester, we got the group together, plus one who had flown in from Paris, and headed out to find the bus that would be our second home for the 7 days we were in England. We also met John our tour guide – he would be our tour guide, cheering section and time keeper for the trip.
Leaving Manchester we headed to Liverpool, we spent our time there on Albert Dock. Two of the other boys, who had flown in days earlier joined us on the bus here. We had an opportunity for lunch and a little walking around. After the long flight, we were mainly just killing time and trying to stay awake until hotel check in and dinner!
(In the picture above – Cohen and Tyler are riding this “sky spin of death” ride – a few days later a similar ride in London, broke and the riders had to be evacuated off on a ladder…whew! )
We made it to the hotel; it was a Sports Village in Leigh, England. This mini campus consisted of a hotel, a grocery store, a University building, a sports building, several fenced in soccer (football) pitches and a rugby stadium. We checked in and had a quick pre set dinner. Dinner was nothing too fancy – England isn’t known for its gourmet cuisine, but it was enough to fill us up. Almost immediately after dinner the boys decided to find a place to play soccer – so 11 new friends and their (brave) Coach Mike headed off to find a “pitch” to play on. Apparently a 7 hour flight – 2 hour bus ride, walk around Liverpool wasn’t enough to tire them out…They nearly ran off on their own.
There is a funny story here about 3 American moms…misunderstanding directions, looking for their kids, getting somewhat turned around and ending up trying to cross through a (backwards) round about…we found the boys, eventually.
Many (American) soccer players dream of playing soccer in England – and there they were on their first night there, fulfilling that dream!
July 28 – Day 2 brought an early morning training session…(I got to go for a run along the canal as it was the only time I had “free time”, it was a whole hour and a half to myself).
A little drizzle on my run…but good scenery so I couldn’t complain!
After training we headed back on to the bus and were asked for the boys to sit in the back and the parents to sit near the front…you know so we could hear the directions and “tour information” better. Looking in the back of the bus on that – only day 2, you would have thought these boys had been friends for years! They were playing games (mostly Pokémon GO – for those that had phones, the others **Cohen** were left to just watch them play) laughing…and carrying on.
Next up was a tour of Manchester United Stadium. The stadium was nice, the tour guide is great, a few things of note: there is no alcohol allowed in the stands, you have to finish it before you go back in. They allow you to bet on the days match. And there are a specific number of seats set aside for the opposing teams fans, they are all in the same area and have their own entrance and security guards surround their section during the games.
If you know soccer – Sir Bobby Charlton’s name might ring a bell, if not, look it up. He happened to be there signing autographs. Cohen didn’t know who he was – but the TV special movie that came on that night after we were back at the hotel explained it, and Cohen wished he would have listened to me and bought a book to have signed…always listen to your mother.
And the boys first friendly game. This game was played against a local team, and had the most amazing referee. He was so kind and complimentary to our kids – he even took them aside and explained a few calls when they didn’t understand.
Warm up before the game with Coach Mike.
Pictures when we were done – I set this one up, so every time we took a group picture Cohen thought I set them up -(which I may or may not have done) therefore, there was a lot of eye rolling….from Cohen.
We heard about the rainy weather in England- and though it threatened to rain the entire day, the clouds broke up just in time for the boys to play. They won this game; I cannot remember the score…and honestly it didn’t matter, they had just played an official game of football, on a pitch in England!