Today we had the chance to go to a Premier League match: Southampton vs. Everton. Kickoff was at 12:45pm and Southampton is about 90 or so minutes west of here along the south coast of England. The kids boarded the bus along with the CMT staff at 8:45 for departure at 9am (Seacoast coaches followed in a separate car due to # of seats available on the bus).
Leaving extra time for the ride along the A27 with about a million roundabouts on the 56 mile route(there were really 17 of them on the way), we had plenty of time to find parking and walk over to the stadium to meet up with the group. Southampton seemed like a nice city with little shops/galleries and plenty of places to grab a bite or a pint before the match if desired. There was a decent showing of Everton fans in town for the game.
I'd guess that the stadium holds about 30,000 people We were sitting in the corner, everyone in our group was together. Everton ended up winning 3-0 as Lukaku had 2 goals. His first was off a header - great finish!
After the game, most of the group paid a visit to the Megastore for Southampton souvenirs. Some made it their 2nd trip to the pro shop, also visiting before the match.
While a few kids were still in the pro shop, others noticed the Everton buses a little further along the side of the stadium and waited to see the players as they boarded their buses. A few lucky people in our group managed to get photos and/or autographs with some of the players!
Andres with Lukaku
Yes even the "big kids" got photos and autographs...
Tim Howard signed my ticket, as well as a few of the kids' tickets.
Ian with Southampton's Mane
Upon our return to campus, the kids were told to make sure everything is packed up tonight. The majority of the boys are up very early for a 5am bus to the airport as their US Air flight departs around 10am for Philly, and a layover to Boston. The girls (plus a few of the boys) catch the 8am bus for their 1am Virgin Atlantic flight to Boston.
The kids could be seen running around outside on campus enjoying their last night here, playing 5v5 soccer on their own in the upper quad (not sure if they were supposed to play on that greenspace!), then giving hugs and saying goodbye before heading to bed.
View pictures from today here.
Up bright and early tomorrow for the trip home! Thank you England! It will be great to sleep in our own beds tomorrow night!