By Josh Hood
In the final week of the holidays a group of Lower School boys set off on a football tour that was to prove a very successful and memorable experience for everyone involved.
Having been cooped up on a coach for six hours the day before, the boys had a chance to get out on the pitch on the second day.
There was a lot of excitement and high expectations for the first training session with a few of the Ajax youth training coaches.
With a reputation as a world-class youth academy, the training did not disappoint. The boys were split into their various teams to participate in various drills normally reserved for the First Team.
After 90 minutes of learning a variety of different skills and moves, the boys were exhausted – not least by the 30 degree heat. At this point, they took a break, had lunch and were guided on a tour of the Johann Cruyff Arena (the home of Ajax Football Club).
Tensions were high as Ajax were set to play a Champions League qualifying match the following night which would determine whether they would get through to the group stages.
However, soon enough everyone was back on their feet for another action-packed training session. This one consisted of shooting, tackling and chance-creating (some of the aspects of football the Ajax are famous for).
This was a highly successful session, leaving the first and second year boys much wiser than they had been at the beginning of the day.
On the next morning another training session was held, this time with the Hampton coaches, in preparation for the fixtures that evening.
Based on the lessons learned the day before, drills were based on passing and the ability to finish a move, inspired by one of the best clubs in the world at these two aspects of the game.
After yet another helpful, fun and extremely productive session, everyone went into central Amsterdam to discover a fascinating city with a lot of history, including a tour on a barge that took us around the landmarks.
This also served as one of the very few chances to rest for the boys as yet another afternoon of football was coming their way.
After a short journey down to a local club, all four teams prepared for their matches. By the end of the night, Hampton had gained two wins and sustained two defeats, leaving a group of exhausted boys that had battled very hard, regardless of the results.
The U12As and U13As won their matches 7–0 and 2–1 respectively and despite some great effort the U12Bs and U13Bs lost their games 8–1 and 3–1 against a set of very strong footballing sides.