1 - Charlie W
2 - Sam M
3 - Louis F
4 - Thomas A
5 - Leo M
6 - Harry H
7 - Cameron M
9 - Etien H
10 - Charlie T
On a beautiful spring morning in May, the Piranhas would continue their journey into this year’s tournaments with a visit to Stamford Bridge, the home of newly-crowned Premier League champions, Chelsea FC.
Nine excited players would get the opportunity to feel like Premier League footballers for the day and experience what the likes of Hazard, Costa, Kante and Cahill get to see on a weekly basis. There was a real buzz in the air as this day had seemed to take an age to come around.
To make the most of the day for all involved, we hired a team bus in which the Piranhas and their proud families boarded, ready for the trip into South West London, where Chelsea Football club play. A flag was made to put in the window of the bus to let all passers-by know who was on board - DUFC Piranhas!
The Coach pulled up into Stamford Bridge and the ground was already a hive of activity, with all the other teams signed up for the tournament waiting around for their opportunity to get out onto the Chelsea pitch and pit their wits against opponents from all around the country, from as far south as Bournemouth and as far north as Sheffield.
The Piranhas departed the bus and met up with their friends from DUFC Stingrays who were also at the tournament. The Managers were called forward to register their teams and we were ready to go in.
As the team entered the stadium, the excitement was clear to see on all of the players’ faces as the magnitude of the 41,000 seater stadium became apparent right before their eyes. The playing surface was immaculate as you would expect and the team were itching to get out onto it.
The lads were set up in their base for the day, one corner of the stadium, waiting for their first game. Due to some confusion around the Chelsea victory parade, some changes had to be made to the tournament meaning it would move to 6-a-side. The pitches were small and the goals looked quite big so it wasn’t really conducive to the Piranhas normal expansive flowing football, however, it was the same for every team so we would just have to see how the lads dealt with the changes.
What was most important for these boys was the experience of playing on a premier league pitch inside a large stadium, an experience that they hoped would become the norm as they get older and look to make this wonderful game their profession.
Before their first match, the Piranhas lined up inside the tunnel and were announced out onto the pitch to booming music and rapturous applause from their adoring faithful. It was enough to make the hairs on the back of your next stand on end. The team clapped their supporters as they came out and they were ready to get underway.
After match number one, the Piranhas also got to go into the changing rooms and sit in front of the shirts of many of their idols, hoping that one day they may see a shirt with their own names hanging there ready for match day!
The Team played four matches in total against the following teams:
- Kew Association Tigers
- Hollands and Blair Tornadoes
- Chichester City
- DUFC Stingrays
It would be fair to say that despite playing well in large periods, results were not kind to the team on the day, however, that did not detract from a wonderful experience for the boys, the kind that will live long in the memory banks including goal of the day from Louis F who definitely had a moment to treasure as he struck an absolute beauty!
The boys all worked really hard and didn’t quite get the rub of the green, but they were all still smiling as they went to pick up their deserved certificates at the end. The team boarded the coach home tired but happy about the brilliant day they just had.
Many thanks to Andy Ayers for arranging the coach. A great idea, adding to the overall experience. Thanks as always to the loyal Piranhas supporters. Thanks to Ross Morley for helping me with the team and thanks also to Michael Cook, our official photographer for the day, capturing the moment for the lads and their proud parents.
Well done lads!
Click photos to enlarge...