Carihi Senior Boys Soccer
The Carihi senior boys soccer team has made history over the last three years winning the Island championships and attaining back-to-back provincial berths.
All this hard work over the previous four years took us across the Atlantic to England, the birthplace of soccer. Years of fundraising and planning was done to take the 13 seniors over to Manchester, England, where we stayed with billets before travelling all over the UK to places such as Liverpool, York, Harrogate, Haworth, London, Hull and Birmingham.
After a full day of travelling, we found ourselves in Manchester, jet-legged and exhausted, just in time for a well-deserved sleep before our 16-day long trip commenced.
Thursday, March 13, we made our way to Xavarian College with our billets before embarking on our first day. The first visit was to the home of Manchester City FC, Etihad Stadium. We toured around the ground, seeing first hand all the amazing features of the venue, and taking in the vast size of the stadium. After a quick lunch we travelled downtown and found ourselves inside the national football museum, which offered tons of historical football displays and information on the culture that consumes much of the world.
The next day we met up at the school, football gear in hand ready to play our first game on English soil. We travelled back to the Etihad stadium, but this time we were set to play against St. Peter’s at Manchester City academy’s stadium. It was a humbling experience warming-up in the shadow of the massive Etihad stadium.
Although there were no fans to cheer on Carihi during this international friendly, we were ecstatic to play in such a large stadium in the presence of the EPL super-team. A 2-1 comeback led by Zach Tillapaugh and Kevin Shelswell gave us Canadians a winning record to start the tour.
The next morning we loaded into the vehicles and drove over the Pennines to Hull City to watch our very first English Premier League game, where Manchester City FC would be playing against the Hull City Tigers.
It was quite an experience as we took in 25,000 supporters singing songs and cheering for their team while enjoying a famous English pie. MCFC came out on top with a 2-0 victory and we couldn’t have been happier with it.
The next day the bags were packed for a three-night stay at the port-city of Liverpool, Home of the famous Beatles. We spent the rest of the day exploring the Albret Dock, the museums, and all the other attractions that lined the River Mersey. After breakfast at the hostel we made our way to Everton FC’s ground to tour the old stadium. It was amazing to see the history of over a hundred years of football. After a quick fish and chips we drove to De La Salle Secondary School for our second game.
The field was bumpy and the winds were high as we got our first taste of a skilled English team. Carihi did well, keeping the play very even but unfortunately we fell short 4-2. A similar Tuesday was planned. Across the park from Everton FC, we arrived at the world famous Liverpool FC’s ground.
Inspired by the famous ground we headed to Cardinal Heenan Sports College, Stephen Gerrard’s alma mater, who is currently the captain of Team England. Carihi played well with no subs, But we couldn’t hold off the English powerhouse, losing 6-1.
We finished off the day by driving to Wigan. There we watched Wigan play Yeovil in the Championship division of England’s professional league. The match consisted of six goals, five of which were scored in the last ten minutes to give three different leads.
Wigan player Jean Beausejour came over to celebrate his goal with us at the side line, resulting in our photo on the Wigan Athletics website. Our last day in Liverpool started with a short visit to Penny Lane, where Sir Paul McCartney grew up, then a quick drive to our third game in Liverpool against St. Francis Xavier.
Two late goals for SFX proved to be enough in a 2-1 loss for the Tyees.
Arriving back in Manchester, the team took their billets out for a buffet dinner, in thanks for their welcoming hospitality.
The stay in Manchester was short lived. The bags were packed once again as we travelled to the old Roman City of York for the night. There, we walked along the cobblestone roads of the Shambles and the great stone wall that surrounded the inner city.
The next morning we travelled to Harrogate, a nice, posh community where we played our final game for Carihi against Rossetts School. Evan Farmer put the Tyees ahead early with a beautiful strike leaving Rossetts’ keeper fishing out the ball from the back of the goal.
Rossetts replied with three unanswered goals giving them a victory as the final whistle sounded. Emotions ran high despite the friendly game. Captains Zach Tillapaugh and Collin Massie exchanged Carihi’s plaque to Rossetts as the Tyees all got together for one last cheer.
It was a very memorable moment for all thirteen of us, who have accomplished so much over our last four years, and a great place to end our Carihi legacy.