Day 1 was a travel day. The majority of the group, excited and ready for the trip of a lifetime, flew out of LAX to meet up with the rest of the group in London (some families were already in Europe having a pre-tour vacation).
After arriving safely into London Heathrow Airport our 04 Academy girls got straight down to tour business by taking in a tour of Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC – current EPL champions. The girls experienced the stadium, the sideline, the changing rooms, the press room and ended a fantastic tour buying memorabilia in the official club shop.
The team of girls, parents and coaches had a fun day of sightseeing in London today as they rest and relax before their first tour game tomorrow. Following the Blue Badge Tour, they headed to the Emirates Stadium where they watched two live games, Benfica v Leipzig and Arsenal v Seville in the Emirates Cup. It was a wonderful experience in a magnificent Stadium. Although Arsenal lost the game they lifted the Emirates Cup on goals scored!
It was a busy tour day today for the G04 Academy team. The girls started with a 30 minute walk and stretch before heading out to Arsenal for a training session. While the girls trained the parents headed out for more sight seeing around London before meeting back with the girls for their 4pm game against Arsenal G04/03 Academy team. Our girls put in a fantastic performance against Arsenal (who, lets not forget, are an EPL club) and managed to win a tight game 1-0 courtesy of a fantastic 30 yard strike from Lily O’Grady. Whaoh! Well done ladies!
Day 5 was travel day from London to Chester. The group did the London Eye in the a.m. before heading North in their luxury tour bus. They had a stop-off in Stratford upon Avon, the home of Williams Shakespeare, for lunch and then managed a quick visit to St Georges Park where they received a guided tour of the home of the English FA and it’s National teams before heading onto check in to the Queen Hotel in Chester – their base for the Northern leg of the tour.
Today the girls took a trip to Manchester City for a morning training session at the world renowned Academy Village while the parents headed into Manchester City Center for some shopping and sight seeing. Later in the evening our girls played against the Manchester City Academy 03/04 team and earned another fantastic result, winning 4-1, with goals from Taylor Rzewuski, Gabby Prych, Madison Paolini and Casey DeHaan. Another big result on tour, well done guys!
Day 6 started with a morning training session taken by the Liverpool Academy Director before the girls headed to Anfield for the stadium tour. Later that evening the girls then played the final game of their tour against the Liverpool 03/04 Academy team. They played fantastic, probably better than in the two previous games that they won, but unfortunately a stunning late 25 yard strike from Liverpool ended the game with a 3-1 defeat. The score line was not a fair reflection of the game and how well our girls played but beating Arsenal, Man City and then losing to Liverpool is not too shabby. Well done ladies, you put in a great week of soccer!
What a fantastic day at in Wales at Conway Castle. The girls and parents had a fabulous day sightseeing in a spectacular area as they moved from Conwy thru the Snowdonia Nation Park before returning to Chester via the famous Welsh Village of “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch”! The weather was glorious too. Great memories created that will last forever!
Day 9 was Liverpool sightseeing morning and then off to Burnley to experience another live game and what was a classic encounter between EPL team Burnley F.C. and German Bundesliga team Hannover ’96. Unfortunately the game only lasted until half time as the Hannover fans rioted and fought with the Stewards and English police but this did give the group the “whole experience” and the opportunity to savor the grass roots of the English game from a safe distance!
After a fantastic tour it was a sad return to the US from London Heathrow for many of the group. A number of the families ventured further into Europe to extend their vacation and visit with family and see other exciting European countries. Regardless of the departure date, all participants returned home with everlasting memories of a great time in the U.K.!