On August 9th we left Chester, England to head to St. Georges Park, where England's national team and several other professional clubs often train. Upon arrival, we took a tour of the grounds. We explored several fields on the property along with the locker rooms and recovery rooms. After the tour we trained with an official FA coach, who also coaches at Sheffield United, a Premier League club. It was a fun training environment and we enjoyed working with him.
After our training, we had tons of free time to nap, explore the hotel, and use the facilities that were open to us. Some of the guys spent some time recovering in the pool and sauna/spa from past games and trainings before heading out to an outdoor futsal court for a light 5 vs 5 pickup game before dinner. Post-dinner, the team got together at the local pub alongside locals and watched the opening game of the Premier League in which Liverpool played Norwich. Then onto the next day as the team was ready for the night's end.
The next day, August 10th, we were up early for a 7 a.m. breakfast as we had to leave the stunning St. Georges Park for another Premier League game where Crystal Palace played Everton. Without much traffic the coach driver got the team to the stadium in London 4½ hours later. Being so early, the team had a chance to spend time with Crystal Palace fans and take pictures with players arriving for the game. The atmosphere was already buzzing with excitement for the opening game for both Premier League teams. As the game started and the time ticked down, fans were loud on both sides as they each had a few good chances. Though no goals were scored, saves were made, a red card was given and both sides fought hard throughout the match.
An hour drive from the stadium was the last hotel we all stayed at, this one very close to the airport. Checking into the hotel, eating dinner, sleeping through the night and taking one last coach ride to the airport is what our last day really consisted of. We enjoyed our trip and look forward to coming home. We have a few days once we return to get ready for our upcoming season. All the coaches and players are excited to get back out onto the fields and prepare to have a great season.