I was picked up at "Clayton Wood" by Ken and Janet who took me out to see Trentham Gardens, which they said was a very nice spot. They were correct. I took pictures. Here they are:
|There was a lake...|
|...and daffodils for days (again, for all you daffodil people)...|
After our journey to the gardens, Ken and Janet took me to "tea" (where nobody actually drank tea) at an American restaurant. After that it was back to the Tollgate for the night where I will pack up and prepare for my 5:55 AM departure from Manchester tomorrow morning.
This has been an amazing trip. The time has absolutely flown by. I can't believe I am done and will be coming back home tomorrow. I don't know how to thank everyone who helped make it happen. Thank you Mike and Ray for putting it together. I would like to thank everyone at Stoke City for allowing me to come and for treating me just like anyone else at the club. I would also like to thank Ken and Janet for being complete saints and helping me with essentially anything I needed. You guys were amazing.
From a soccer perspective, the trip has been extraordinary. I have learned a ton, I have had a blast, and I have gotten to test myself against some excellent competition. I have gotten to go to a number of games in some excellent environments. I got a chance to meet Gordan Banks. I have worked out alongside some of the world's best players. However, most importantly, I have been able to really determine what I need to work on as a player. I came over here sort of unsure of what my weaknesses were. I knew I had them but I wasn't sure what they truly were and I hoped they would become clearer over these two weeks. Playing against this kind of competition on a daily basis has pointed me in the right direction in terms of what I need to do to improve and hopefully reach that next level.
Outside of soccer, the trip has been awesome as well. I have been able to travel all over what really is a very pretty country. I was able to visit one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities in London. I have gotten to meet all sorts of wonderful people who have all been very, very nice. Additionally, unlike when Whitman came as a team, (which was very fun and doing that trip with my teammates and schoolmates was great) I have been able to completely immerse myself in the English culture.
I would also like to thank you guys for reading this. I hope you have enjoyed following along with my journey.
I am sad my trip is ending, but all good things must come to an end and I am looking forward to seeing everyone back home. And with that, for the final time on this blog, I say goodbye.