Monday, August 20, 2007


Home sweet home... the trip is over.

I realize that it's impossible to see most of the photos I posted on webshots (it automatically makes some of the albums private instead of public), so I've made a new account on the same website. This time, however, everyone can see the photos easily since I'm going to give out the password. This not only allows all the parents and alumni to view any picture on the site, but it also allows the other guys on the trip to post their pictures, too. I'm going to have Brent e-mail everyone the password and account name ASAP. I hope this will give us an extensive photo library of photos from the trip that'll be accessible by all. Today I'm going to upload as many of the nearly 600 pictures I took as possible, so keep checking throughout the day and coming weeks. The site is . A link to the site is underneath the UK2K7 Bobcat on the right side of the Blog. Check back for a final, wrap-up post in the near future, as well.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mind the Gap

Since the Wigan v. 'Borough match on Wednesday, we have successfully made it to London, the third and final stop on our tour. We departed yesterday by coach bus after a short but informative training session held by Christine Tipping's husband (who goes simply by 'Tip'). The session focused on counter-attacking and transitional play. After napping for a solid hour and a half, we stopped in the town of Oxford to check out the beautiful town and University there. After a frantic but unsuccessful search for Hogwarts, the team returned to the bus for the final leg of the trip. We arrived at the Thistle Hotel at Kensington Gardens around six o'clock, just in time for dinner. The hotel turned out to be a beautiful one, sitting adjacent to Hyde Park near Notting Hill.
Today consisted entirely of site-seeing. We got back on the coach and were treated to a tour by one of Christine's friends who is a certified 'Blue Badge' tour guide. We saw and were educated on the typical tourist hot spots, such as London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Parliament. We got off the bus shortly after to walk around, as well. Stopping by St. James' palace, we posed for pictures with a guard in a funny fur-hat and red coat. Afterwards, we had the privilege of watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It was a unique occasion because it was the first time that Jamaican Royal Soldiers were guards at the Palace. Once we all got tired of the site-seeing, we took some time to shop around London, visiting Picadilly Circus, among other places. Finally, after an exhausting day of tourism, we had a wonderful team dinner at a local Italian restaurant courtesy of Bates Men's Soccer Alumni. Huge thanks to the alumni for that meal... it was one of the best we had all trip.
Tomorrow will be our last full day here in the U.K. (sad). We start the day off with a match against a representative team from an English football association, with kick-off at 10:30 AM. Following the game, there will be a reception held for us by the association before we rush off to attend the Premier League match between Fulham and Middlesborough at Fulham. The game should be extremely entertaining because Fulham's roster boasts three Americans! McBride, Bocanegra, and Dempsey. After the game, it's time to pack up. Apologies for not posting pictures yet from our most recent excursions, the internet in the hotel is absurdly expensive so I'm subject to internet cafes down the road. Check back for a post following the Fulham game. Cheers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wigan vs. Middlesbrough

So we just got back from the Wigan vs. Middlesbrough match at Wigan. The game turned out to be a low scoring one, with the home squad winning just 1-0. The first half was fairly uneventful, but the second provided more attacking play, with Wigan scoring on a scrum in the box and Middlesbrough replying with unrelenting attack (including a missile that hit the post). The game could have provided better action, but in the end it was a fun atmosphere, and a good time.
Tomorrow we depart Southport for London, where I'll try to get up photos from the Wigan game, Old Trafford, Blackpool, and other miscellaneous places. Cheers.

Old Trafford + Blackpool

Before beating up on Burscough last night, we traveled to Manchester to visit Manchester United's stadium 'Old Trafford.' After visiting the museum and learning some of the club's history, we took a tour of the grounds, getting to view one of the most impressive stadiums in the world. The thing is massive: it can seat upwards of 80,000 people. The tour began by sitting up in the stands (which cost 3,000 pounds for season ticket holders), where we got an amazing view of the whole field. We then walked around to the opposite side to where the changing rooms are. We were able to see where the players eat, get dressed, hang out before the game, talk to the press, and finally we were able to actually walk through the tunnel and onto the field. Well, actually they'd kill you if you even touched the grass, so we just walked around it, but we did get to sit in the plush Audi seats that the players sit in. Afterwards, we spent a good amount of time in the giant pro-shop, and had a delicious buffet lunch in the Red Cafe. In all, it was an amazing tour, and we all learned that Rio Ferdinand scarfs down Jaffa Cakes at halftime (which we're all buying boxes of for the season). Check out the pictures that were added, as well.
Today, we took a trip to Blackpool to visit an amusement park. We all went, as a team, on what is apparently the tallest rollercoaster in all of the UK before splitting up to enjoy the rides and grab some lunch. Now we're about to have dinner before heading to the Wigan vs. Middlesborough match at Wigan. This is the first Premiership game we're going to, so everyone's very excited. Should be a good match. Then we'll pack in the morning, get a training session in after breakfast, and head to London! While we've enjoyed our stay here in Southport, we're ready for bigger and better things. In London, we'll be doing a whole bunch of site-seeing, watching the Fulham vs. Middlesborough game, and playing our final match of the trip.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bates vs. Burscough FC

For those who haven't been to England, it rains. A lot. Last night's game unfortunately was no different than an average day around here, as it poured, on and off, for the entirety of the match. Nonetheless, the Bobcats faced off against Burscough FC (pronounced burse-cow), the U-18 squad within the premiership club. As the first-half began, it became clear that Bates was the superior team. The Bobcat offense barraged the Burscough goal, with opportunities from the likes of Pat King '10 and Rob Friedlander '10. At halftime, the score remained at 0-0. The flood gates were bound to open, however, and came crashing down ten minutes into the second-half as Duane Pelz '09 snuck one by the opposing keeper. This goal was followed up by a magical strike from Mark Grande '08 who, after smoking Pat Grater '08 in the face with a shot, put the ball top corner for a brilliant goal. Utter pandemonium ensued. Grater recovered, and was able to leave his pain behind when he scored after a scrum in the box. Finally, Topher Piazza '10 topped off the win with a goal after he challenged the keeper for a head-ball. Solid goalkeeping from both keepers gave Rob Munro '08 and Aaron Schleicher '08 shutouts in the match. Final score: 4-0 good guys. Our next game won't be until Saturday, when we'll be in London.

Bates vs. Ashton Town

Bates and the Ashton Town FC battled last night on a beautiful night at Edge Hill College. Ashton Town drew first blood early on in the match on a terrific freekick from outside the 18-yard box. Ten minutes later, Ashton Town would relinquish their lead for good, as the Bobcats tied the game up on a truly fantastic goal. Beginning in the back, Pat King '10 passed the ball through the middle to Duane Pelz '09, who touched it on to Mark Grande '08 who slipped a ball through the defense and into the corner for Pat Grater '08. Grater magically flighted a curving ball with his left foot to a streaking Brent Morin '08 on the back post, who finished with a header (surprisingly) placed in the top corner. The goal was, indeed, the best so far this trip. Before the break, Pelz dribbled through a number of defenders before going around the goalie and walking the ball around the post and into the net. At half, Bobcats up 2-1. It didn't take more than five minutes for Bates to strike again, the final blow as it turned out, when the Ashton defense parted like the Red Sea for a Morin pass to find a the left foot of Mark Grande who finished with style. In the end, it was a decisive victory for the Yanks from Maine.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hibernian v. Gretna

Thought we aught to give a brief review of the professional Scottish Premier League game we went to on Saturday afternoon. After a relaxing morning in Edinburgh, full with a visit to the castle, the team headed to Easter Road Stadium, home of "Hibbs". Instead of traveling simply by double-decker bus, however, we were escorted in the Hibernian team bus, which we later took to Southport. The game itself was phenomenal. Visiting Gretna scored the first goal of the match on a pretty free-kick outside the 18 yard box. The score at halftime: 1-0 in favor of Gretna. The second-half began with a quick goal for Gretna to put the underdogs up 2-0. Luckily, the home-side responded and found the back of the net on a penalty kick. Hibs scored another fantastic goal off a free-kick placed perfectly in the top left corner. Finally, they grabbed the win with two more impressive goals to please the home crowd, and the bobcats in attendance, as well. All-in-all it was a truly enjoyable game filled with great action, lots of goals, and a fun atmosphere. We look forward to seeing Middlesborough take on Wigan and Fulham in the coming weeks. A re-cap of tonight's match of Bates vs. Ashton Town will be up asap. Stay tuned...