Saturday, July 29, 2017

Day 10: July 28th

I cant believe today is our last full day here in the UK! Time has flown by! I am sad to leave but also very happy to get back to America and devour a nice American meal :)
The girls are headed off to the Olympic Stadium today! After an early breakfast of well, you know the routine now, they headed straight to the bus. Took us a little less than 2 hours to get there and surprisingly not a lot of singing on the bus as I am sure everyone was sleeping.
Once we arrived the turf was being watered with the giant sprinklers to get the astro pitch nice and fast for us. The pitch is a bright colored blue which is a literally interesting to play on, almost messes with your eyes a bit. On the coaches Matt Daly played on this turf during the 2012 Olympics, but unfortunately he had to leave early to head to Holland so he was unable to come. The girls headed right into training after they were done being amazed with the stadium and the pitch.
Harriet, Tom and Dave again split the groups into 3 and did some more tactical skills and small sided game play. After that the players split up into Seacoast and "The rest of the world" to play against eachother for a full sided game.

The teams started out in the hallway and after Dave announced team USA and "The rest of the World" they all ran out and greeted the umpires (Harriet and Tom) The girls were loving how we were trying to make it seem official. After the introduction they even sang the national anthems! Our girls were of course on point, but the "Rest of the World" girls struggled considering they have girls from 4 different countries, so instead they sang "We Are the Champions" by Queen.
Unfortunately we did lose the match, but it was great to see the girls all play against eachother in a friendly match!

 After the match, the girls were given some time to explore the rest of the Olympic village. We were able to the Aquatic center, the Cycling center and also did a little shopping through Westfield. It was amazing to see how they still use all of the Centers to train. Harriet was a great tour guide for the group I was in, as she herself was able to attend the 2012 Olympics.
After the tour was over, we were off on the bus and headed back to Ardingly. The Olympic Stadium was definitely a great experience for the girls and I am sure something they will never forget!

Once we got back to Ardingly and enjoyed a nice meal (we were all very hungry) the coaches planned a little closing speech and some awards. Tom, Dave, Harriet and Patrick each spoke about some funny stories that happened over the course of the ten days but mostly about how amazing it was that 2 groups of girls from different countries were able to come together as one. The girls were truly a great group of girls and very entertaining to say the least! After the speeches, awards were given out. Most Improved, Player of the Matches, Coaches Award and Camp Player (of course they were given sweets as an award)
Once the awards were over with, all of the girls exchanged snapchat, instagram and whatever social media they use now. I truly think a lot of these girls will stay in touch as they definitely learned a lot from them not only playing wise but culturally as well. All the girls stayed up late and played some more "Just Dance" to end the night. Some chose to pack a bit, others took their mattresses out of their rooms and decided to have a giant sleepover (atleast they will have plenty of time to sleep on the plane). Unfortunately tomorrow will be the last day we are all together before we head off back to the States :(

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day 9: July 27th

Day 9: July 27th

Today was a long but good day...This morning was the same routine like every other morning. Sarah (CMT Staff not out Sarah from Seacoast) made wake up calls at 7:45 am and then we were off to breakfast by 8 am.  We have noticed that some form of potato is served at every meal... for breakfast every morning there are waffle potatoes, for dinner last night there was mashed potatoes and for lunch the other day there was hash browns.  So many potatoes!

At 10 of 10 am, we walked up to get the bus for Kingston.  We packed everything we needed for the day since today was the longest day we were off campus.  It took us just under an hour to get to Kingston, where the girls again had the chance to shop and get a snack/lunch.  Harriet took Christine and I on a quick tour of the Kington Grammar School where she teaches P.E. with Matt, Dave and Tom.  The campus is very nice and they pack out of buildings in a small amoutn of space.  Harriet was so kind to give Christine and I a Kingston Grammar School Sport Sweatshirt.  She was telling us that their school logo was just slightly redesigned so they have extra gear that can no longer be used.

Katie Corkill also met the group in Kingston to check in on how the camp was going thus far.  It was very nice to see her again.  She could only stay for a quick visit because she had to get to ready for our Seacoast United soccer players that will be arriving at Lancing College on Sunday.

Around 1 pm, we headed back to the bus for a quick ride to the Hampton Court Palace and Gardens. The Hampton Court Palace is an historic site owned by the Queen.  We took a scenic stroll through the gardens with Dave as our tour guide and took a group photo in front of the palace.  Apparently, there is a huge maze (like the one in Harry Potter) but we didn't have time to walk through it because we had to get to the field for our games.  Dave told us that the maze is actually quite challenging and people get lost in it frequently because the shrubs are so high.

After our stroll through the Gardens, we arrived at the Kingston fields and clubhouse for our games.  Our first team played at 3 pm and unfortunately lost 6-1 with our lone goal scored by Cameron Whelan (some of the girls played for both teams and Cameron was able to be one of those players).  The weather of course was all over the place...One minute it was bright and sunny then the next minute it was absolutely downpouring.  Our second team took the field around 4:30 pm and unfortunately they lost as well 4-3.  They did tie the game up 3-3 in the second half but they were not able to take the lead even though they tried their hardest.

Once both games were complete, our girls and the players from Kingston enjoyed a snack of cookies and crisps (chips) that Harriet and Tom had purchased earlier in the day.  At that point, the sky had opened up and was raining extremely hard which didn't allow both groups to interact like they did at the Lewes Hockey Club last Saturday.  It was still a great experience and all the coaches have noticed such improvement from all of our girls.  

I forgot to mention that Christine had to play today!  She played with the Kingston team in our second game.  She says that she is out of shape and is rusty but she definitely did not look out of shape and rusty on the field today.  The girls gave her a hard time because she played for the opposing team but it was all in good fun.

On the way home, there was no singing but there was lots of traffic!  The bus driver was very kind and played the Beauty and the Beast for our ride home which ended with in minutes of us getting back to campus (perfect timing if you ask me).  We arrived back to campus just before 8:30 pm and went straight to dinner in our soggy clothes.  The girls ate pretty quickly and there was a mad dash to get to the showers first.  

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is our final full day in England and I think they saved the best day for last.  The girls are going to have a wonderful experience training at the Olympic Stadium tomorrow.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Day 8: July 26th

Today was a little rough waking up, you would think by now we would be used to the time change! Also, the rainy weather does not help getting out of bed....
Per usual we had our lovely English breakfast, of croissants but today there were also bagels! Although I don't think they use cream cheese as that was no where to be found. The first session we decided to switch it up a bit and do some indoor hockey (the weather definitely had a play in this) the girls started out with some conditioning, including an interesting game of soccer, except you weren't were crab walking. It was pretty comical to watch. After the conditioning piece, the girls were split into 5 different teams. For the remainder of the session we had a little indoor tournament, each team was able to play everyone twice and then went into playoffs.
Indoor is a much different game compared to regular hockey. Much faster pace and lots of little sprints, also the stick basically needs to be on the ground the entire time (I'm assuming there will be some very sore legs tomorrow).


After lunch, the girls had some nice to relax a bit before our next session. Since we did some conditioning in the morning and have another match tomorrow afternoon we decided to do a little stretching before we headed out to the pitch. It was definitely needed!
From there we headed to the pitch, today a little bit of a later session than usual as we started around 4pm, instead of 2:30pm. The girls were split up into 3 groups again, based off skill level. One drill was a 1v1 drill mixed with a little conditioning, the other was various types of small sided play, while the 3rd group was continuous 2v2 with some conditioning as well. We ended the session with a full sided scrimmage which the girls were excited about before the final match tomorrow!

After the session we headed straight to the dining hall. With the longer break, you could tell some of the girls were starting to get a little hangry. Once we got back to the dormitory, some of the girls were screaming "disco night". Apparently every Wednesday, the school holds a disco night. I took one for the team as well as Sarah a CMT staff member and agreed to take the girls to the disco night above the dining hall. All the girls were so excited to go (made me feel super old knowing I was about to chaperone a dance in my sweatpants and sweatshirt) until.......we arrived and found out it had been canceled. The girls were bummed but me and Sarah were doing a little dance on the inside :)
After that devastating news we headed back to the lounge, some girls went to bed while others stayed up and played "Just Dance" on the TV. Huge day tomorrow as we head to Kingston for our final match! Apparently I may be in need to play for the Kingston older group, so lets cross our fingers I make it out alive as I am pretty intimidated playing against some of our girls....


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Day 7: July 25th

Day 7: July 25th

I just want to start off by saying the weather today was amazing...probably the best weather we have had since we arrived!  It was sunny and warm all day with not a drop of rain!

Anyways...the girls had their normal 7:45 am wake up call for breakfast which consisted of the same old English items.  Some of the girls have admitted that they don't care for the food but they are making the best of it (I must admit I'm looking forward to a homecooked meal when I get back).

The turn around between breakfast and training was very quick because the girls had to be on the field by 9 am.  They had a mini one hour training session where they worked on inserting, stopping and striking for offensive corners.  The girls had the opportunity to try all three positions if they desired.  I have a good feeling about our offensive corners for our final match on Friday against Kingston.



 The girls headed back to their rooms to get ready for our trip to Brighton.  Around 11 am, we boarded the bus and we were off for the day.  Upon arriving in Brighton, we walked to the shore and headed to the Pier for arcade games, fish and chips and rides!  The girls broke off in groups of at least 3 and they had an hour and a half to do as they pleased on the Pier.  Some girls bought a wristband to go on endless rides while others treated themselves to nutella filled crepes topped with ice cream.  The only issue on the Pier was the seagulls!  They were ruthless and will take food right out of your hands. Needless to say the Pier was a huge hit.

Around 2 pm, we headed back to the center of Brighton so the girls could do some more shopping. They had just under 3 hours to shop, eat lunch and explore Brighton.  I bought myself and my mom a London sweatshirt and my 2 nephews a stuffed teddy bear (I have been trying my best to not spend too much money).  A couple of the players from the Lewes FH Club met up with our girls and toured them around Brighton which I thought was very nice.

Just after 5 pm, everyone met back up and Christine and I walked around our group to see what all the girls purchased.  The big purchase of the day was Percy Pigs which are these pig shaped gummies that can only be found at Marks and Spencer.  These were a huge hit last year and they seem to be a huge hit again.

We got back to campus around 6:30 pm and went right to dinner in the dining hall.  After dinner, the girls showered and put away their purchases away then the FH coaches walked the girls down to the on-campus reservoir.  I didn't get a chance to see it but the girls enjoyed it.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Day 6: July 24th

Day 6 in the books! I cant believe it has almost been a full week since we have left the US.
Today, the girls seemed very excited as there was finally some waffles for breakfast today (not potato waffles either). I finally tried some back bacon, which was amazing.
The agenda today was hockey and lots of it! After breakfast the girls headed into their first session. The coaches planned on them having a hard training day and it certainly was. Not necessarily a lot of conditioning but a lot of constant small sided play. They started off with continuous 1v1's, although the grids were small the girls definitely seemed winded. After 1v1's, the groups were split into the older and younger age groups from before.
Harriett and Dave were working with the younger group on 2v1's, while Matt and Tom were running continuous 4v4's with the older group. Lets just say they definitely worked up an appetite!

At lunch we had a lot of pasta, some macaroni and cheese (which seemed to be a hit!) and what almost seemed to be an English version of chicken alfredo with mushrooms. The girls definitely had to carbo load up after the first hard session. As the days go on everyone seems to be becoming closer with the South American girls. They are all mingling with eachother at every meal and I am almost certain they are all friends with each other on every social media account they have. After lunch we headed into the last session of the day. This one was quite comical for the younger group as we worked on diving towards the net and tipping. Lets just say I think Reagan takes the prize for the best belly flop dive to get the ball into the net!

After the last session and dinner, the girls rushed back to the rooms to shower and get ready for trivia night! They of course grabbed some chocolate and snacks from the tuck store (school store) before to get prepared. All the girls participated and were split up into 5 different groups with some interesting names. The trivia included categories of Music, Field Hockey, Geography, Staff Members, Celebrities and History (even I thought some of the questions were hard). Luckily the questions were a good mix for both the Seacoast girls and the South American girls. As the final tallies were added up at the end, the winning team was the "Dream Team" (sounds like it). Once the trivia was over, many of the girls rushed off and asked if they could go to bed already. I definitely think today tired them out! Tomorrow we have one light morning session and then we are off to spend the day in Brighton!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Day 5: July 23rd

I can't believe we are already on Day 5 on our trip...I feel like it's flying by!  The weather this morning was sunny and beautiful...the summer here is almost like our fall weather in New England (which is great playing weather for the girls if you ask me).  I must admit the breakfast situation has become pretty standard each morning...bacon, sausage, beans, tomatoes and waffle potatoes.  This is considered to be an English breakfast, well there are some missing items like the blood sauage (I don't think anyone is interested in eating that!).  Of course there are other options like cereal, toast and crossiants which I think a lot of girls gravitate to.

Around 9:15 am, we walked up to get our bus and packed lunches for our trip to Portsmouth.  The bus ride was a little over an hour and depending on how you look at it, unfortunately or fortunately the wireless speaker died about half way through the trip so there was still singing but not as much or as loud.  The bus driver encouraged the girls to keep the party going so they continued to sing acapella.

Upon arriving in Portsmouth, our group headed to take part in the historic dockyard tour. Unfortunately, the weather had changed drastically on our trip to the coast and the weather in Portsmouth was cold and cloudy but that didn't stop us.  The first ship we toured was the HMS Warrior 1860.  It was amazing to see all the different levels/areas of the ship from the Captain's quarters to where prisoners were held.  We toured the ship for about 30 minutes or so then it was on to our next ship of the tour but first we made a stop to use the bathrooms and to get a snack.

We then made our way to the HMS Victory.  HMS Victory is the Royal Navy's most famous warship and is best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar.  There was a another large group in front of us so we had a little bit of a wait.  Unfortunately, since our group was so large we didn't get the opporunity to the headsets that talked you through the tour of the ship but I still think the girls had a decent time.  The girls toured the ship and at points the compartments were so small that we had to deck down really low in order to get through to the next part of the ship.  Coach Dave said he felt a little uneasy when he had to go through the medical quarters because it was a really tight space.

As the group trickled out of the HMS Victory, the girls made it quite clear that they were ready to shop!  The Gunwarf Quays Desinger Outlets is very similar to our Kittery Outlets but on a smaller scale.  There was a larger variety of stores that can be found in America with some British based stores mixed in.  The girls had about 2 1/2 hours to shop and eat lunch in groups.  Angelina Meyer and Jill Mallett enjoyed a Mexican lunch while Peighton Winder purchased lots of chocolates to bring home to her family.

We met around 3:30 pm outside the Nike outlet and while we waited for remaining girls to return, Christine and I checked out everyone's purchases.  It seems like the girls got some pretty good deals. A couple of the older girls decided to save their money because they thought that they could purchase similar things back home for cheaper (which I agree with although I did buy a few things for myself).

After everyone was back at the Nike, we headed to the bus for our ride back to Ardingly.  The bus ride was surprisingly quiet with only a little bit of singing near the end of the trip.  I think the girls were a little tired after the games yesterday and lots of walking around today.

Upon getting back to campus, the girls returned their purchases to their rooms and headed to dining hall for a carb loaded dinner.  There was lots of pasta and garlic bread which will hopefully give them some fuel to make it through 2 training sessions tomorrow.  The girls have been relaxing and watching television down in the common room this evening and will be heading off to bed in about an hour (so will I).

Another fantastic day done!  Let's hope for great training weather for tomorrow!

Day 4: July 22nd

Today is game day! This morning the girls are ready to go to their first match against Lewes, but first we have a training session to prepare for the afternoon. After breakfast (some more potatoes) we headed onto the field. The weather started out sunny and cool, great hockey weather. Matt, Harriett, Tom and Dave split the girls up into the 3 groups. Each group worked on more tactical skills to prepare for the competition they were going to face in the afternoon. With lots of small sided games, the girls seemed ready and eager to play their first match (or just excited for the BBQ afterwards)

 As the girls finished their lunch, we headed right to the bus to head off to Lewes. With the weather looking like it might rain, the girls were prepared with an extra set of warm clothing for the BBQ afterwards. Of course the bus ride there was filled with singing, dancing and even some high school musical. The girls alternated the speaker with their music as well as the South American girls to get pumped up for the games. As we got to Lewes, the rain really started to pick up (seemed like buckets were being dropped) Mostly all English pitches will have a clubhouse attached or near it. The clubhouse is wear the players will change and shower after the matches, enjoy a nice tea, coffee, beer and meal afterwards. Matches here are a very social event.

 The first game was the younger group of girls. Some girls were even able to play in both games. With the rain still coming down, it sure didn't stop the girls from playing amazing! With the first goal in around 5 minutes the team started clicking. As halftime approached the score was 2 - 0, Aly playing amazing in goal! The rain still didn't seem to hold up much, almost felt like we fast forwarded time and we were in late Fall. Again, still didn't stop the girls from scoring and ending with a win! With the final score of 4-1, the girls were ecstatic! As we ended the game, we exchanged gifts. The Lewes team gave our team captain, Gia, a tea towel and a poster/map of the town Lewes.

The second game was underway and thankfully the sun started coming out! From the start, the game was a battle. The level of skill from the Lewes team was amazing to watch. With Lewes being first to score, we were able to rebuttal right afterwards.  The final score of 2-1, us taking home a second W! Both games were very fun to watch and see the girls progress as a team (especially with some of the girls communicating in Spanish). Gifts were exchanged and everyone was very eager to get some food in their stomachs!

The Lewes clubhouse had picnic tables outside which all teams sat at. Us coaches gave the girls their space and let them talk and sit with all the Lewes players. The BBQ was amazing! Burgers, potatoes, pasta salads, something that gave the girls a little taste of home. At the end of the BBQ some of the players were even exchanging instagrams and adding each other on snapchat! Needless to say I definitely think the girls had a good time.
As we boarded the bus all the girls had a smile on their face from ear to ear. Both teams coming home with the win! We even heard it all the way home on the bus as everyone sang "All I do is Win" to celebrate! Hopefully none of them will be too sore tomorrow as we head to Portsmouth for the day to do some cite seeing.