My name is Geordie McCully and I was invited to travel to the UK for 16 days for a Football experience. This happened after I had attended a training camp in Timaru. From there I was invited to the 2018 West Ham United Oceania Camp Academy National Camp in Australia in September.
On the 25th of November 2018 we flew from Auckland airport to Manchester with a stop in Dubai for an hour. In total we spent 32 hours travelling. We met up with the others in our group of 34 players, mostly Australians with about 5 New Zealanders. We went straight to the National Football Museum followed by a game that night Leeds vs Reading. This was my first experience of a football stadium filled with chanting fans. The atmosphere was incredible.
The next day we had coaching with Wolverhampton Wanderers Academy. We got a good look around their stadium while we were there. That night we watched Aston Villa play Nottingham Forest. We also had a day of coaching provided by a man who used to coach Liverpool.
We spent the next few days getting coached at the West Ham United Academy. It was good to see the coaches who had been in Australia earlier in the year. In the evenings we attended a Chelsea vs PAOK game and a Manchester City vs Bournemouth game. We had a tour of the Manchester City Etihad Stadium too.
After travelling to Scotland we attended coaching at the Rangers Academy, which was great preparation for our games playing against their academy teams at night. We had some more days with our own coaches training us in preparation for games against other academy sides. We played 6 games over here. We also took in some Scottish Premier League games like Rangers vs Aberdeen and Hearts vs Motherwell in the evenings that we weren’t playing.
I had a great time getting coached by English and Scottish Football Academy coaches.I learned so much and picked up some new skills. We got to play against academy teams in some impressive facilities, I even managed to score a few goals! Football is massive in the UK. The fans at the Premier League games were very dedicated, they never stopped chanting or yelling. I got to watch some of my heroes play and be a part of it.
We did get to do a few touristy things, we went around London on a bus and had some time in Edinburgh Castle for a look around, and have a look for the Loch Ness Monster.
I made some great friends and have memories to last a lifetime.