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The Paperboys

Date Added 22/06/2018

 We are delighted to confirm a prestige friendly against American side Oakland Leopards on Thursday 5th July 7.45pm kick off. 

Edward Stephen, coach for the Leopards gives us a little history and information on the rest of their tour:-

FC Leopards

Our kits are black and gold.

I have grown from coaching one youth recreational team 16 years ago into managing multiple teams consisting of U11, U14, U19 and a men’s squad.

I coach the Men’s and U19 teams and other coaches run our U11 and U14 teams.

Our focus is on creating a pathway for player development and trying to help players achieve the highest levels of technical skills, tactical awareness and decision making they can obtain within their circumstances and environment.

Our mission is to build people of character, discipline and integrity so they have better chances of success off the pitch as well as on.

 

Our U19 boys are all local kids living in Oakland. They are Latino from low income families and live in parts of Oakland known for drugs, violence and shootings. It is not uncommon to hear multiple gunshots in the background during training sessions. Despite all the negativity of Oakland’s environment and reputation and the hostility directed towards minorities it is inspiring to see their strength and determination to overcome challenges that kids should not have to face.

I am blessed and honored to be part of their lives. They are not the best team in the league, but the players are great kids who support one another and that is a win for me.

 

Our men’s team is a little different. Oakland is a very international city and over time we have gotten college university level players from many different backgrounds (England, Belgium, Japan, Tanzania, Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, etc.). The other players grew up locally and developed into strong players.

I also select one or two of our promising youth players to play on our men’s team. This has really elevated their game and spiked their development to a higher level.

 

Our Trip

It has always been a dream to take players abroad to learn about football culture in a different country. I hope to broaden the U19s worldview outside of their Oakland reality and help them to grow and become better individuals. They all wanted to visit England for football so I decided to make it happen. To help raise money, we have done a raffle, hosted a U11 tournament, started a gofundme campaign, and will be hosting a potluck (called a kermes).

 

I have been coaching our U19s since they were 12-13 years old. About half of the team will age out of our youth program by next Fall season so I feel this is my one and only window of opportunity to do this with the players I have seen grow up before my eyes.

 

2nd July we depart Oakland

3rd July we arrive London

4th July recovery day from jet lag and get acclimated

5th July play K Sports

6th July recovery day from game

7th July play Redbridge FC

8th July play Biggleswade United FC

9th July recovery day from games

10th July return home