Top-notch football, iconic sights and burgers the size of your face – that’s New York for you! Just last month Clitheroe Royal Grammar School took a bite out of the Big Apple on their football sports tour, showcasing their talent in a handful of matches and soaking up that All-American experience.
After a week in the big city with this football-hungry team, I’ve pulled together my top five highlights of the tour. And believe me, it was hard to pick just five!
1. The sights, sounds and smells
Walking through Central Park with all of the leaves changing colour – now that’s something special. Only in autumn can you see those rich hues of reds, oranges and yellows in such beautiful surroundings. We were able to see the set up for the New York Marathon, all the while enjoying the smells of the candied nut stalls and watching the entertainers back-flip their way down ‘The Mall’. Not your everyday sight!
2. ‘Chicken-fried chicken’
No, that’s not a typo! We walked through the rain (word of caution: when it rains in New York, it rains) to an authentic New York diner for some ‘chicken-fried chicken’. Because fried chicken just isn’t enough. Throw in a couple of sliders, which were actually just three full-sized burgers (why not?), and the group had the best meal on tour.
Sorry, we ate them before we had a chance to take a photo (they were so delicious)!
3. The Americans love our teams!
The enthusiasm of the local teams was incredible – they simply loved playing UK ‘football’ teams. Other teams even came up and asked if our boys and girls wanted to stay on and play their team as well! You’ve got to love the Americans.
4. Football is on the up
Football is rapidly growing in popularity in New York. The big clubs are fully invested in youth soccer programs to help create as many professionals as possible, one being the Academy coaches for the New York Red Bulls who the group enjoyed a training session with.
It’s great for school groups to see home grown talent progressing to professional level. We met one such player, Matt Miazga, who was born and raised in New Jersey and now plays for the New York Red Bulls (based in Jersey). It’s incredible to see how far young talent and dedication can take you with the support of clubs.
5. Picture-perfect views
The football facilities are amazing and many have the most phenomenal views. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5 didn’t disappoint with its stunning views over the financial district in Downtown Manhattan; Met Oval offered sights over the whole of New York from Queens; and Macombs Dam Park sits directly opposite the one and only Yankee Stadium. Oh New York, your skylines never fail to impress us Brits.
They’re my highlights! But what did Clitheroe have to say about the tour?
‘A chance in a lifetime that didn’t disappoint; a truly memorable experience in every way.’
Adam Hutchinson, Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
Adam, I couldn’t have put it better myself. Until next time, New York!