Archive for the ‘England Exchange’ Category

Thank You Host Families

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009


Thank you to the 18 families listed below who opened their homes as host families.  Hosting 37 players and 4 staff members is no easy task, but these families made the trip seamless and a great experience for the visiting St. Clement Danes boys and coaching staff.  Words cannot express my appreciation enough for your hospitality, kindness and for making this a memorable experience for all.  


Host Families: The Meyers Family | The Cormier Family | The Tobin Family | The Veeveart Family | Mike and Della Gleason | Amanda Gleason | The Kelly/Harding Family | The Tripp Family | Seth and Mariko Brown | The Allen Family | The Hudgens Family | The Pyne Family | The Treadwell Family | The Tarr Family | The Smith/Heyer Family | Ruth and Mark Fitzpatrick | The McHugh Family | The Buck Family


The Boys Are on Their Way Home

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009


They’re off to Boston & then home … The boys made their flight on time and enjoyed some shopping at the Portland Mall before arriving at Boston Logan Airport.  So hopefully, they are getting some sleep before they arrive home in London in the morning.

Actually I’m surprised some of the SCD gents are awake and walking about considering a good many of them never went to sleep – thinking they’ll catch some shut-eye on the plane (smart lads). I know that at 5 am a few of my guys went outside to play tennis. I believe they woke the horses. And of course the sun was out – nice! When I came into the living room this morning at 7 am they were pretending to be dozing and then all started laughing letting me in on their sleep depravation plan.

I suggested they get a little rest since two hours into their trip they will stop to shop a bit more and they certainly don’t want to miss the Portland Mall. No sooner than I spoke those words they closed their eyes and were out for at least an hour and a half.

When I woke them, they scrambled to finish packing and off we went to Dysarts – Truck Stop and 24 hour a day eatery. We were the first to arrive – actually we beat the coaches – (yes, I said it again, we arrived before the coaches). With our breakfasts ordered the rest of the Host families started appearing one by one. Most sat down and had a quick bite to eat. As the time drew near we all went outside to await the arrival of the bus.

Once outdoors we decided to get last minute photo opps prior to the buses arrival. We attempted, and I believe accomplished, the difficult task of getting the hosts and their SCD guests together so you can now put faces to the e-mail addresses. After several complete group photos the bus arrived and the SCD lads tossed their luggage under the bus – literally – then they went back to say final farewells to the hosts. Lost of hugs, laughs, a few tears and loads of promised future communication via the world wide facebook/twitter/ web/ichat/e-mail thingy.

The guys and coaches climbed into the bus … the door closed slowly …  we waved from outside, they waved from within (a bit hard to see with the tinted glass, but we assumed they were waving) … and the bus drove off!

Once again, a huge thank you to our UK families for allowing your son’s to visit our homes and enter our lives. They were a true delight!

And to our Blackbear HOST families, we can’t thank you enough for your generous hospitality. 

Thank you once again,

MJ & Hal

Monday Game Recaps

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009


What a day, with a 70% chance of rain, and I checked seven times in the earlier half, I would have bet it was going to pour, hail and thunderstorm (so the weather-folk predicted), and I would have lost, big time. The sun was out, blazing, evaporating the nights heavy rainfall even as clouds quickly passed overhead occasionally obscuring the sunshine for a brief moment. All the players were happy to be outside, finally, in the nice warm weather and all the hosts were asking if they had on enough sun-screen and had plenty to drink!

The U-15 SCD players vs the Terriers got underway at the appointed time and what a game it was. From the first whistle SCD dominated play with wonderful passing, terrific shots on goal and excellent team work. They scored during the first half with a super passing combination and held the lead for most of the game until one of the Terriers had a quick, lucky, break and was able to squeeze a ball into the back of the net.

The UK-15’s followed the Terriers unexpected goal with an array of passing and shots to dazzle the spectators in the stands, however, the Terriers goalie played brilliantly and thwarted each attempt (and there were many in the last few moments) a seven to one ratio. In the end it was a very hard fought and well played match by both squads concluding with a 1-1 tie. I believe SCD would have taken it had the game been closer to regulation time. It was simply too short, only an hour long in total.

In the stands the temperature dropped a few degrees and the clouds slowly crept in. Hmmmm, maybe the weather-dudes weren’t going to be wrong after all. There was a brief rest period while the Terriers changed from White to Dark Blue Jersey’s.  At the appropriate time the SCD U-18’s took to the field anxious to challenge the Terriers who were ably assisted by some of the SCD U-15 players. Another well played hour long match. The SCD 18’s had a passing element which kept the Terriers guessing and running and running and … you get the picture. Not long into the first half the SCD-18’s scored. George Holland scored a beautiful header off a Luke King cross (George is staying at my house). Not taking credit, but we did serve home-made pancakes topped with strawberries and powdered sugar along with thickly sliced perfectly cooked bacon for brunch.

The SCD squad continued to put on a skillful display of teamwork and George Holland notched his second with a great individual effort off a dead ball just outside of the 18 yard box, curling the ball into far post (dedicated to his brother William).  Luke King then tallied the third goal and as the minutes wore on they were able to tally another goal. The final score was 4-0 and they culminated their USA visit with an undefeated record.

Quite impressive!

At the games conclusion the temperature dropped even further and the clouds blanketed the sky as we climbed into our vehicles to head back to our separate houses for the farewell night.

For those SCD parents who want to know … YES, your son’s were a true delight in every way. They were courteous, thoughtful, helpful, gracious, respectful and always thankful … on and off the field. After talking to most, if not all of the host families, I’d have to conclude that everyone was thrilled to have your young men stay in their homes and become part of their families (even for the briefest of time), we will miss them when they leave tomorrow and will look forward to the next SCD football ambassadors with open arms.



p.s. I am sending home CD’s containing higher res versions of all the jpegs you saw on-line + many more (almost 200 in total) with the SCD players who stayed at my house along with a few copies for the coaches. So check with George, Gus, Jake or Nils if you’d like to see all the images.

Sunday Recap

Monday, July 27th, 2009


Well, well, well …

Can you believe it? What started out as a beautiful Sunday morning slowly turned into a rather cold, wet, rainy day. Yes, the sun did peak out occasionally to confuse and taunt us. The Blackbear families and their SCD players were all set to head out to Seth Browns “camp” after the two BB U17/+ vs SCD soccer matches were played, but unfortunately the weather turned ugly and the decision was made to cancel the outing.

The games were well played by both sides. The SCD 18’s concluded their match with a 1-1 draw with the BB U-17/U-18 players, while the U-15’s wound up down one goal as the last whistle blew. Hard fought games with lots of cheering parents and players.

This turned out to be a good day to relax and watch some football on cable TV. Several back to back matches.

Today … Monday, there will be two rematches against the Terriers starting at 3 pm. Let’s hope the weather holds out. according to the forecast:

Mostly cloudy. Areas of fog this morning. Scattered showers with isolated thunderstorms this morning…then numerous showers and scattered thunderstorms this afternoon. Some thunderstorms may produce gusty winds and small hail this afternoon. Heavy rainfall possible this afternoon. Highs in the upper 70s. South winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

… therefore, It looks like a good afternoon for football. 

That’s all for now …


Friday Games Weathered

Monday, July 27th, 2009

im-a-believer-17.jpgim-a-believer-38.jpgscd09-079sm.JPGscd09-078sm.JPGI’m A Believer 13I’m A Believer 12im-a-believer-26.jpgTeams TogetherI’m A Believer 9I’m A Believer 8I’m A Believer 7I’m A Believer 6I’m A Believer 5I’m A Believer 4I’m A Believer 3I’m A Believer 1 

Hello UK SCD parents, sisters, brothers, relatives and friends …

What a day! The forecast was for a bit of rain, who would have believed more precipitation was possible. As the song goes “I’m a Believer”. The SCD players (u-15) had a 12 pm game. The beautiful Point Lookout field is about 1.2 to 1.5 hours from most of the host families homes and to be on time we had to leave no later than 10am.

On time being ready for an 11:30 am warm-up.  We arrived before the coaches (did I say, “before the coaches”), having driven through a moderately light but steady rain. Traffic was a bit slow as the streets were slick. Upon arrival at the picturesque field the young men immediately took to the turf and began warming up. I think this was to impress the coaches, either that or to stay warm as the temperature was lower than normal. The opposing U-15 Terriers, under the coaching guidance of Seth Brown, were on the field too warming up for the game.

The rain started coming down a bit harder, but nonetheless the game was about to commence as the clock struck noon. A few of us noticed that the usually well drained field at Point Lookout was starting to take on a glistening appearance on the outskirts as water began to rise.

The game began and both teams played well.  SCD appeared to be in control from the start with several early shots on goal, but the Terriers put together a few passes in reply bringing the ball down the field and well within the SCD defensive line. As the SCD players kicked into gear the spectators noticed a significant amount of water beading up all over the field. I don’t know if the players noticed the water build up at first until their quick give and go passes abruptly stopped midway on their journey to the feet of the receiver.

The rain continued to increase in pace and quantity and the players were sliding about spraying water everywhere. Slide tackles turned into hydroplaning players and the only way to move the ball up field was by lofting it well over everyone’s heads. Dribbling down the sidelines became a frustrating task as the ball oft times got hung up in the now flooded areas of the field, the dribbler uncharacteristically racing ahead of the ball.

The teams did very well and both goalies were outstanding, stopping several attempts from either side. SCD had many more air assaults and direct shots on goal, while the Terriers seemed to get just inside the 18 on the ground before Gus put an end to their efforts. As the rain continued and the half-time whistle drew near, it was apparent to the coaches that to continue the game would be a lesson in futility with the possibility of unnecessary injuries due to the wet slippery turf field and the extra effort required to make the simplest of passes. Therefore the game was called at half-time with a score of 0-0. The much anticipated second game with the SCD 18’s was cancelled too, with the hopes of playing both matches on Monday, closer to home base at the Hampden turf field.

With the afternoon free I know our guests are doing what comes naturally, shopping and more shopping. I suppose many of the others will be doing likewise.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is a “Day free for shopping, outdoor activities with host families” … hopefully it won’t rain!

Best regards,


Thursday Game Results

Friday, July 24th, 2009


On Thursday, July 23rd, the St. Clement Dane U15 boys team defeated the Hampden Boys varsity team 5-1.  The game was fairly even for the first half with the SCD boys gaining a slight edge 2-1 at the half despite some good chances.

The boys played really well in the second half and exposed some of the Hampden weaknesses and took advantage with 3 second half goals to open up the game.

The 18 Boys cheered them on and then both groups had a relaxing afternoon with no activities planned.  We were going to have a baseball game, but the weather didn’t look like it would cooperate and the boys wanted some down time.  Many went shopping, others went swimming, some took naps while others went to the Sports Arena for some arcade type games and bowling.

Thursday evening, the SCD 18 Boys took on Husson University, a local NCAA III school along with some Blackbear United alumni home for the summer who are playing at various other NCAA Division II and III schools.

The first 15 minutes was a “feel out” stage where both teams tried to guage the other with no real scoring opportunities.  The game had a physical edge to it with some great combinations amongst players.  The game was a joy to watch and very entertaining from start to finish with a great atmosphere with about 250 people in attendance (not including the mosquitoes).

The SCD boys struck first about 30 minutes into the game on a great combination play between the midfielders and forwards.  Louis Stead received the ball with his back to goal, spun on the defender and then made a great move to beat the central defender to free himself up for a great strike on goal to lead 1-0.

Husson then leveled the score off a corner 10 minutes into the second half which made for an interesting final 30 minutes.  Both teams had scoring opportunities and it looked like the game would end 1-1  until the 80th minute when SCD broke down the right hand side, fired a cross in which was deflected by the central defender to the top of the box, where a SCD player served a hard ball to the six and Hadleigh De Vall beat the keeper to it and knocked it in for the 2-1 lead.  Hadleigh celebrated so much that he cramped up!  Quite the celebration.

The game looked like it would be SCD’s but with 2 minutes remaining a Husson player took a shot from the corner of the 18 yard box which deflected off a SCD defender and over the outstretched arms of the keeper.

The game ended 2-2 in a very exciting match.  Congratulations to both SCD teams on great performances and a special thanks to Hampden and Husson University for putting their teams together.

Friday the SCD boys will face the Terriers U15 squad based  out of Waterville at Point Lookout, a beautiful scenic soccer complex in Northport, Maine.

Thanks MJ

Wednesday Update

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

scd09_0720a.jpgTraining on WednesdayTraining with Coach BrownTraining 4Training 3Training 2TrainingAfter Training  Seth Training    

Just to give you all a current update. Your young men had a two hour practice with Coach Seth Brown (Head coach from Husson University).

The day was overcast, a tad bit cool and the ground very wet from last nights precipitation. In other words … perfect weather for practicing fütbol. From what I understand, coach Brown lead the players through some extensive drills that hadn’t been practiced before.

Everyone survived. And after practice headed out to two simultaneous afternoon gatherings for swimming, games (video, pool, ping pong, etc.) and wonderful food.  Thank you Cormiers and McHughs!

My bunch … after the get togethers … along with about half the squad went shopping and then headed out to see the new Harry Potter – The Half Blood Prince. The movie was a big hit. However, I get the sense that everyone is exhausted.

Well, it’s been a long day and the U-15’s have a game at 10am and must arrive at the turf field no later than 9:15 am … so I’ll say good night.

Best regards,


Welcome to the USA Party at Hal and Lauries!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

View the PartyBy the Pool Food, Food and more Food  Food and Drink  A little Magic!

Wow, what a day … this was amazing, beautiful sunshine throughout … 80+ degrees. The pool was packed, the tennis court was hopping, ping pong rackets were blazing, keen billiard shots were taken and the air-hockey puck was flying across the tables surface. 

We went through numerous bottles of soda, water and cans of Mountain Dew, iced tea and lemonade, 50 Hot dogs, 36 Hamburgers (and buns) over 40 pieces of barbecued chicken not to forget the watermelon, corn on the cob, cookies, and more cookies … handmade tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole. Soccer ball juggling, a little magic! Terrific company throughout!

Relaxing Chillin  Nice Weather  Playing TennisTennis Court View

Wow, what a day!You should be very proud of your sons … they were wonderful, polite, respectful and each and everyone came over and thanks us.We’d like to thank all the host families for bringing food-stuffs and helping out.And a special thanks from me (Hal) to Glen Hudgens who I must say showed me a true mastery at the grill.

Take care, Hal

England Exchange Set to Begin July 19th

Monday, July 20th, 2009

On July 19th, 37 players and 8 staff members from the St. Clement Danes School located just outside of Watford, England will stay with 17 Blackbear United families as part of an England Exchange program.  The Blackbear families are from various towns within a 30 mile radius of Bangor, Maine.

The boys will stay until Tuesday, July 28th before heading back to Logan Airport in Boston to head back across the atlantic for home.  The boys will have loads of activities including soccer games, trainings, pool parties, lake parties, softball/baseball games and much much more.

Each day, the St. Clement Danes players and staff can “blog” their activities to keep their families aprised of what they are doing.  Parents and players of both the St. Clement Danes players and Blackbear United players are encouraged to “blog” away.

On Monday, July 20th the boys will start their trip off with a “Welcome to the USA” pool party at the Meyers house.  The players and families will spend the afternoon getting to know each other, eating some good food and having fun in the pool, on the tennis court or in the Meyers basement with loads of games.  Excited yet???