Football Academy Tour 2019

In April, The Rugby Portobello Trust Football Academy took 21 boys from the Under 11s and Under 12s on a football tour to Northern France.  The boys travelled to and from France on minibuses via the Channel Tunnel, which was a new experience for many of the boys. 

On the three day tour the boys visited three separate French clubs where they attended training sessions and played friendly matches against their French counterparts.

The first day the boys joined the semi-professional club US Boulogne Cote de Opale (USBCO). Both of our teams expected tough matches against a semi-pro team, and despite losing, they showed their sportsmanship and maturity and adapted well to the unfamiliar conditions.

The second day the teams travelled to Le Harve Football Club, home of Paul Pogba, Riyad Mahrez and Benjamin Mendy. Here they got a private tour of the stadium, taking a peek in the facilities and even following in the players footsteps and walking out onto the pitch. Both teams put in strong performances and came away with a win (U12s) and a draw (U11s).

The third day started out with a trip to Dunkirk. Here the boys read a poem, ‘The Miracle of Dunkirk’, observed a minute’s silence and discussed the beach’s historical significance. In the afternoon the two teams played their final games against AS Marck Football Club. The matches were close; the U12s came away with a draw whilst the U11s were graceful in defeat. After the final matches the teams got back in the buses to make their way back to London.

The tour was an incredible experience for each of the 21 local boys who took part. The boys thoroughly enjoyed playing football for the three days, but realised that the trip was about so much more. They appreciated having the opportunity to get outside of North Kensington while doing something that they love and they really enjoyed interacting with other teams who they would otherwise never have an opportunity to play or meet. This alone made for a unique cultural experience for not just our boys, but for the teams that they played.

The trip was fantastic learning experience for the boys in terms of their independence, as they were all without their parents, some for the first time, and had to clean and make up their rooms each morning, clean and prepare their kit each evening, ensure they went to bed at a decent hour and woke up and were dressed in time for breakfast, all while undergoing intense practice sessions and preparing to play against semi-professional clubs.

We’re very proud of each of the boys, what they achieved and the maturity and sportsmanship that they showed over the three day trip, and we hope we can continue offering this experience to as many of our players as possible.

22nd May 2019