Follow The Leader Blog

England Blog #9 - Favorite Moments, Forever Memories

by Connor Day, Colin Harris, Ben Herbst, Quinn Perry, Max Wiberg & Coach King | Apr 06, 2016
Blog Entry By: MKSC Academy Player Connor Day

This trip was a once in a lifetime experience and I really enjoyed the opportunity. My favorite part was the England vs Netherlands game, even though England lost.

Blog Entry By: MKSC Academy Player Colin Harris
Hello, my name is Colin Harris and recently I traveled with the MKSC program over to England. I was one of the only three kids on the team that were not U13, but that did not stop me from having an incredible time. I was the only player on the team who also made the trip last year, and I must say I enjoyed this year's agenda more than last year.

Don't get me wrong, I mean it's pretty hard not to have fun on an overseas trip and I certainly had a great time last year. However, the amount of activities soccer-related and not that were packed into this short span of eight days this year was incredible.

We witnessed two professional soccer games one at the highest level in the premier league and one in a lower-down-division local game, both of which were amazing to watch. Along with those two games, we got to watch England play the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium in an international friendly. Along with watching games, we played a few games of our own.

With our first match a 2-2 draw against Woking FC Academy, our second match a 4-0 win against Orange FC, and our third match a disappointing (but close) 4-2 loss against Liverpool County Select, with some top players from Everton and Liverpool Academies. From these matches we gained valuable experience and compared ourselves with some of the English competitive teams.

We had some training sessions as well. Our first was with a Fulham Academy youth coach in the Fulham training dome. Second, we trained with Chelsea FC youth coaches at Surrey Sports Park who gave us some new drills and techniques to improve our game. Finally we were given the immense privilege to train with former Manchester United Assistant Manager and Fulham First Team Manager, Rene Meulensteen. Mr. Meulensteen has worked with some of the best players in soccer and Manchester United history including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Dimitar Berbatov along with many other big names (not to mention he worked alongside one of the best managers in history, Sir Alex Ferguson). Many of us took pictures with him after the training session.

We also went to six premier league stadiums, touring two and going in four Megastores. One of my favorite parts of the trip, being a Chelsea fan, was the extra gift coach King had for us. We were allowed to go into Cobham, Chelsea's training grounds. We were allowed to scrimmage on a nice, small field for a few minutes and then we toured the grounds, watching training sessions with U17-18 players, U8 players and some of the first team that was not playing with their country for the international break.

When in Manchester, we were allowed to play five a side on the top floor of the Hotel Football right next to Old Trafford.

All in all, it was a soccer-packed week. I don't think any of us would have had it any other way.

Blog Entry By: MKSC Academy Player Ben Herbst

To me this trip meant a lot. For starters, it was the first time I traveled out of the country. Next it was great to experience the soccer culture in England where all of the big teams are looking for young players. Finally, it was an opportunity to strengthen my friendships with my teammates.

My favorite part of the trip was when we went to Old Trafford. Manchester United is my favorite soccer team. I enjoyed learning more about the team's history. I also enjoyed the firsthand experience seeing the locker rooms, press rooms and the original dugout tunnel that survived the bombing of Manchester in 1996. All together it was a very fun trip and I hope to have the opportunity to do it again.

Blog Entry By: MKSC Academy Player Quinn Perry
This trip has absolutely been a great experience
for the entire team. We had loads of fun touring,
at games, in the hotels, dining together, and more.
Everyone had a great time, and most of us would
definitely want to scurry back to England one day
if we ever get the chance. All in all, it was an
excellent trip.

Blog Entry By: MKSC Academy Player Max Wiberg

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this trip was an amazing experience.

My favorite part was the Netherlands vs. England game. Going to an international game in Wembley was a special opportunity and we were lucky we were able to go. Overall, I had a great time with the team and would definitely do it again. 

Blog Entry By: MKSC Coach Michael King

Our nine day English adventure has ended. Our travel agenda included three games played with a record of 1-1-1. Training sessions with Fulham, Chelsea and Manchester United Coaches. We visited six premier league stadiums (Chelsea, Man U, Man City, Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa) as well as the national stadium at Wembley and the small club of Woking. We also watched three games live, Woking vs. Kidderminster, England vs. Netherlands, and Aston Villa vs. Chelsea.

In addition, we spent a morning at Chelsea's training grounds and got to see some of the first team practice - an unexpected and exciting surprise!

In between all of those activities, we were able to visit some of London's most famous sites including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. We also got to take a ride on The London Eye that gave us stunning views of the city.

I hope I can take another group of players next year who enjoy the experience and grow from it as much as this group of players did.

Thank you for traveling along with us, I hope you also enjoyed our journey. 

Coach King