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MANCHESTER UNITED FC ACADEMY VISITS TFA!!

08/02/2018, 1:45pm PDT
By TFA

WHAT A REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE TO HAVE MANCHESTER UNITED FC'S ACADEMY STAFF AND U13 TEAM VISIT US HERE IN THE SOUTHLAND AS WELL AS PARTICIPATE IN THE 2ND ANNUAL COPA AMERICANA TOURNAMENT.

THE WEEK STARTED OFF WITH THEM ARRIVING LATE THURSDAY EVENING, GETTING THEM CHECKED IN AT THEIR HOTEL AS WELL AS SHARING A NIGHTCAP TO COMMEMORATE THEIR VISIT.  

THE FOLLOWING MORNING WE WERE OFF TO HOLLYWOOD TO PARTICIPATE IN A TWO HOUR VIP TOUR OF THE STORIED PARAMOUNT STUDIOS WHICH WAS AN UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE FOR ALL IN ATTENDANCE. 

AFTER LUNCH ON THE LOT, WE HEADED OVER TO THE SUNSET STRIP TO TOUR AROUND THE AREA JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER TOURISTS TAKING PHOTOS AND VISITING OLD FRIENDS.

NEXT UP ON THE DAYS AGENDA WAS A STOP OVER AT THE UCLA CAMPUS. ONCE THERE, JORGE SALCEDO, UCLA'S MEN'S HEAD SOCCER COACH, GREETED US AND TOOK US ON A BRIEF INTRODUCTORY TOUR OF THE UNIVERSITIES FABLED SPORTS HALL OF FAME MUSEUM.

BY LUCK, MANCHESTER UNITED'S 1ST TEAM WAS TRAINING THAT DAY AT UCLA SINCE THEY WERE USING IT AS THEIR HOME BASE WHILE ON THEIR SUMMER CHAMPIONS TOUR.  BECAUSE OF THE GREAT TIMING WE WERE ALL AFFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENTER INTO DRAKE STADIUM TO WITNESS THE 1ST TEAMS PRIVATE TRAINING SESSION. WHAT WAS UNEXPECTED WAS HOW WELCOMING THE 1ST TEAM AND THEIR FAMOUS COACH, JOSE MOURINHO, WERE WITH THEIR YOUTH ACADEMY & STAFF THAT AS SOON AS WE ENTERED THE FACILITY THEY IMMEDIATELY CAME OVER TO SHOWER THEM WITH LOVE AND AFFECTION INCLUDING TAKING PHOTOS AND SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS.  TO TOP IT OFF THE 1ST TEAMS TRAINING SESSION WE ALL HAD JUST WITNESSED WAS OFF THE CHARTS AND AN EXAMPLE OF SOCCER AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL!

ONCE THE 1ST TEAMS TRAINING SESSION HAD ENDED AND THE LAST GOODBYES WERE EXCHANGED, WE HEADED OFF WITH COACH SALCEDO TO HAVE DINNER AS WELL AS TO TAKE THE MAN UTD ENTOURAGE AROUND CAMPUS TO SEE THE MAGNIFICENT UNIVERSITY FACILITY.

ONCE THE CAMPUS TOUR HAD ENDED, WE HURRIED DOWN TO ORANGE COUNTY TO GET THEM CHECKED INTO THEIR HOTEL FOR THE NIGHT SO THAT THEY COULD REST UP FOR THE START OF THE TOURNAMENT THE NEXT DAY.

SATURDAYS 1ST GAME OF THE TOURNAMENT WENT OFF WITHOUT A HITCH HOWEVER IT WAS APPARENT THAT THE MAN UTD BOYS WERE FEELING THE JET LAG FROM THEIR LONG TRIP. NONETHELESS THE BOYS CAME OUT OF IT WITH A WIN TO START THEIR TOURNAMENT CAMPAIGN.

LATER THAT EVENING THEY WERE ALL TREATED TO A "MEET & GREET" DINNER PARTY AT A PRIVATE RESIDENCE OVERLOOKING THE COAST. THE EVENT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS WHERE ALL INVITED GUESTS WERE TREATED TO A SPECTACULAR HOME, VIEWS OF THE OCEAN, IMPECCABLE SUMMER EVENING WEATHER, GREAT FOOD & DRINK, CLASSIC BEATLES SONGS AS WELL AS A WONDERFUL SOCIAL EVENT. TO TOP IT OFF WE WERE ALL TREATED TO A SHORT MOVIE BASED ON THE STORIED HISTORY OF MANCHESTER UNITED FC.

A BIG "THANK YOU" SHOUT OUT TO THE MOORE'S FOR HOSTING SUCH A WONDERFUL EVENT.  THE PARTY ENDED EARLY SINCE THE MAN UTD BOYS HAD TWO GAMES TO PLAY ON SUNDAY AND NO DOUBT WERE STILL FEELING THE JET LAG.

BOTH OF SUNDAYS GAMES ENDED WELL FOR MAN UTD WHICH SAW THEM ADVANCE TO THE SEMI'S ON MONDAY AS FIRST IN THEIR GROUP.  NEXT UP ON THEIR SUNDAY AGENDA WAS REST & SLEEP!!

MONDAYS SEMI-FINAL MATCH WAS TO BE PLAYED AGAINST OUR TOTAL FUTBOL ACADEMY 06' DA TEAM WHICH AS IT TURNS OUT WOULD BE THE FIRST TIME THAT OUR TWO CLUBS WOULD FACE EACH OTHER IN AN OFFICIAL COMPETITION SINCE WE HAD NOT DONE SO OVER THE PAST 6 YEARS THAT BOTH OF US HAVE BEEN PARTICIPATING AT THE MIC IN SPAIN.

THE GAME COULD NOT HAVE BEEN PLAYED ANY BETTER BY BOTH SIDES AND CERTAINLY WAS THE BEST GAME PLAYED THROUGHOUT THE TOURNAMENT. IT ENDED IN A 4-4 DRAW WHICH WAS PAR FOR THE COURSE AS NEITHER SIDE DESERVED TO LOSE.

NO CUP NOR MEDAL CAN EVER COME CLOSE TO REPLACING WHAT OUR TFA BOYS & FAMILIES EXPERIENCED THAT DAY. 

THANK YOU TO MANCHESTER UNITED FC FOR ALLOWING YOUR YOUTH ACADEMY TEAM TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR TOURNAMENT. ALL IN ALL IT WAS AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE FOR ALL OF US AND WE ARE HOPEFUL THAT THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF A WONDERFUL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OUR TWO CLUBS! 

WE'D ALSO LIKE TO THANK MANCHESTER UNITED FC'S ACADEMY STAFF AND PLAYERS THAT MADE THE TRIP FOR MAKING OUR EVENT SO SPECIAL. 

LASTLY, A SPECIAL THANK YOU GOES OUT TO TONY WHELAN AND TO LEE UNSWORTH FOR ALL YOUR EFFORT TURNING THIS DREAM INTO A REALITY.  

CHEERS MATES!!

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