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American Diary Day 7

30 July 2012

Chris Williams concludes his American Notes...

American Diary Day 7

Chris Williams concludes his travelogue…

So that’s it then diary, me and you are through. After a week away in New Hampshire our American odyssey ends tomorrow, and so with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart I shall have to make this my last tour diary. I would like to thank everyone for their kind comments on these notes, Dubes’ Diary and the video content we have been producing in Yellow Player all week. It has meant some ridiculously late night and early mornings but it has been a blast. In particular I have to thank the amazing Michael Duberry for giving up his time to help out. A true gentleman and a mighty fine journalist in the making.

I also have to thank the staff and players, who have let us have access all areas to show the lighter moments such as the sing-off and the beach football, and Tom Craddock and Alfie Potter for being my sat-nav and driving buddies all week. We would have been in Canada a couple of times without them.

Hopefully all the fun we have had came across, but also the hard work that has gone in. I have seen thousands of training sessions over the years but rarely seen better ones than have been out on out here. Please don’t be fooled by reports of cricket and karaoke, the real work has been on the pitch and I have to report that I am excited for the season ahead.

The new players now look as though they have been here all of their lives. All have settled in and looked good in training and games (this doesn’t automatically follow sometimes) and at the same time one or two players have come back from injuries and should be OK by the start of the season. Alfie played the other night and JP Pittman is likely to play some part in the final game tomorrow.

The three trialists who have come with us have been part of the gang and quietly gone about their business. All of them will play tomorrow and I wish them good luck. If their future is with Oxford then great, if they move on then I wish them well for the future. They have been a pleasure to have around. Today, Sunday, saw heart rate monitors, light training and a little light shopping while Monday will be another light day ahead of Kick-Off against the Jim Dedeus XI. This is an ‘all-star’ team featuring the best players from this area plus a few promising youngsters. It should be interesting because both matches so far have been very competitive and the standard has been higher than I perhaps expected.

That maybe shows how football is growing on this side of the Atlantic. Everywhere we go there are kids in soccer shirts as well and Boston Red Sox merchandise. Interest has been huge and the work that a club like Seacoast does is vital for the progress of the game here. Paul Willis and his team at Seacoast have been great to us. The facilities are first class, the games have been genuine tests and the hospitality simply could not have been better. One thing is for sure: Seacoast will grow and grow.

So, dear Diary, that’s it. I am packing my laptop and getting my game head on. Monday will see a training session at Portsmouth High School in the morning, then a rest, then the game. We will then, literally shuffle off into the night with one last game of shuffleboard, the craze that has swept the camp.  On Tuesday we fly back in to Heathrow and will go our separate ways. It has been a wonderful experience, one I will never forget, and has set us up nicely for the challenges ahead.

I’ll see you at our next game, Thame away on Thursday night.  There is a bit of a contrast. I can walk over the road to that one…


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