US University Soccer Team Visits the North East

Mon, 2000-11-13 00:00

A leading north east college recently got the chance to take on a touring American university soccer team and narrowly lost 2-1.

East Durham College hosted the hard fought friendly match, at their Peterlee Campus, against a team from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The US team, known as the Blue Jays, was made up of 17 to 22 year olds, so the College had to mix its teams to match the same age group for the match.

The East Durham College team was managed by Hartlepool Utd legend Brian Honour.

“I was really pleased with how our team gelled, considering they don’t play together on a regular basis. 

“It was a great experience and privilege for both teams to play in this prestigious game, with both teams coming away with a great sense of achievement and pride all playing the game in good spirit. 

“It was end to end stuff, very competitive and the lads did brilliant,” he said.

Commenting on his team’s win US coach Craig Appleby said: “That was a good experience. Although we won, it was the experience that was more important, teaching our young players how to withstand the physical aspects of the game. It was a lot more about the unity and the bonding.”

Craig Adams, aged 20, the Blue Jay’s captain, added: “There was really good competition today. It was intense but fun and a real memorable experience. Something I will always remember.” 

John Topping, from the Durham County FA, remarked: “It’s great to have visiting teams coming to experience the English game at first hand. On behalf of all at Durham County FA I would like to wish the Blue Jays a very enjoyable stay and hope they all go back to the US learning at least one thing from their English opposition.”

The Blue Jays are on a nine day visit to the UK and have embraced UK football culture since arriving in the country on Sat 19th March.

Tour guide Ali Mackay said: “We took the boys to see Crystal Palace play against Derby on Saturday and Sunderland play Liverpool on Sunday. They got to watch the Sunderland game from The Stadium of Light’s Black Cats Lounge.”

US soccer tour firm XL Travel, who organise international football trips and bring about 50 teams over to the UK every year, arranged the Universities tour of the UK.