Published: October 1st 2008October 1st 2008
Well here I am, I'm finally in sunny California. My flight was delayed by three hours from London, good ol Robinson luck strikes at the best of times!! My first night was spent in a hotel at LAX airport. It was quite a daunting experience going through arrivals, then figuring out where I needed to go. I was 5,000 miles from home and all alone!!!! now was the time to act independent.
That night I went down to the hotel bar and had my first beer of my adventure. In fact i think it turned out to be around six as I started talking to This American lad for ages, he worked in Dubai and had a lot of money, he brought me a few beers which was nice. Well there I was, mixing with Americans on the start of my two month experience.
Well the following day took me to San Jose, UK international PLC paid for my flights and I was met at the airport by one of the representatives of the company. We went back to his apartment in Sunnyvale where he gave me everything I needed to know about what to expect from my time
My host family
here. There was a car waiting for me, so I had to drive to Redwood city where I would be based for my stay over here. Driving on your own in a foreign country on the WRONG side of the road was a tad scary, but I managed well. I met one of the UK coaches at a local field called Red Morton. A tall northern, ginger lad!! This field is the field where alot of the sports take place, a huge area with 4 huge 11-a-side pitches all marked out, which all have baseball pitches attached.
The company hadn't arranged any accommodation for me for my first day here, So I had to ask around to see if anyone would put me up for a few nights. All to no luck, I eventually stayed with one of the coaches at his host familes house, which was in the richest part of America, called Atherton. Their house was apparently the smallest on the street but it was still the size of a spaceship. I was only due to stay here for two nights as I had a host family willing to take me in for a few weeks. I
didn't have a good night sleep as I wasn't settled at all, I was even thinking of going home because I was not happy, I think it was just because I hadn't got anywhere 'officially' to stay. Just peace of mind.
My first days coaching saw me shadowing Callum (ginger, northerner) for a few hours. We were at Roosevelt high school and we were coaching under 5s and 6s. The field was set out into around 5 mini pitches, each allocated to different teams. After watching Callum to see how it all works, I took my own session with a group and really enjoyed it. As the kids are so young, all you could do is play games with them and have fun, On the sides of the pitches you have everyone's parents shouting and screaming and LOVING my English accent!! I coached two sessions and then went back to Callum's.
There was my first experience of coaching and I enjoyed it very much.
Sunday saw me, moving in with my host family. The Raders. A Father (Dave) The mother (Erica) and two little kids (Jeremy and Karen) Their house looked really nice from the outside and
I bottled it on the last
it didnt dissapoint me in the inside. A firm handshake from Dave was the perfect introduction, he showed me to my room which was a large room, double bed and my own bathroom area!! LUVVLY JUBBLY.
The rest of the family arrived and I was introduced to them. Erica and Dave treated me to a 'WELCOME TO AMERICA' meal at a Mexican themed restaurant.
Well, I felt a hell of a lot more settled now that I knew I had somewhere permanent to stay, I had a much better night sleep.
The following day saw me chill beside their pool for a few hours before coaching in the afternoon. My schedule is 4 until 7pm Monday through Friday. So time spent during the day is my own leisure time. There are 5 UK coaches in total in redwood City (myself, Callum, Luke, Rich and Dan)
4pm finally came round (bit sun burnt by then) So myself and Luke drove over to the field where we were going to be based. Kennedy, a large high school field capable of holding 6 or 7 teams.
The age group that we would coach here are Under 8s, so again
a lot of emphasis on fun and learning the basics of the game. Some groups are easy to teach as a lot of the kids just look at you because you speak with a different accent, and others are your typical kids, hyper and have a lot of energy. Well myself and Luke completed our three sessions there. We got to know the coaches and the parents, which helps with the contact making. Again very enjoyable.
The following day saw us caches venture over to play mini golf, I was leading a lot of the way, until I got to the last hole, and bottled it completely. I got a 9!!! terrible!!!.
It seemed that a tradition for the other coaches was a visit to either Starbucks or Jamba Juice, by Friday I think we visited them every day. They have been out here since the summer so were already set in their own little ways!
Thursday day, we visited the Headquarters of Facebook, yet another Kodak moment was in order. It was just a plain and simple building if I'm going to be honest!
Thursday night saw me introduced to my first night out with
Night out (before drunk)
the lads. We went to A student town called Palo Alto. It ended up being quite a messy night. We stayed in this one huge bar all night, drinking god knows how much beer, talking to random Americans, just being English really! The night ended up with me, yep you guessed it, chucking up back at the host families house. Hopefully they didn't hear me!!
Friday was a lazy day beside the pool recovering, and a practice session in the baseball nets in town. I was utter useless. I even had the pitching set to slow. I kept on doing cricket swings. I'll stick to soccer I think.
Then I had my last sessions of the week with the Under 8s. I started to incorporate dribbling and passing exercises. These particular groups managed to grapple hold of them really well. My coaching technique was paying off.
Saturday saw us coaches venture down to San Jose soccer stadium. We had to represent UK international in a parade for kids who play for American Youth Soccer Organisation (AYSO) Our duties for the evening was to make sure all the kids were together in a line and to take them round
The UK coaches
Left to right- me, Luke, Rich, Dan, Callum
the stadium in a parade. We would have to wave to the crowds as if we were celebrities. it felt like I was in the Olympic opening ceremony!!! It was a slow walk, and I took in every minute as it was a great experience. At the end of the parade we saw a group of San Jose supporters trying their best to be European soccer hooligans, they were jumping, singing, shouting as we walked past. I was like, nah, Europe are a little more hardcore!! haha. We even stood with these followers for the first half. When San Jose scored we all joined in and celebrated wildly like the fans!! We felt part of their family!! Another great moment
Well there is my first week over with. At first I was unsettled but by the end of the week, settled and much happier.
There are more photos below