We all met at the M&S at St Pancras, once everyone had found the right one. The Eurostar journey was quite anti-social but fun. Lots of people had drinks and food, but at the same time their phones in their hands. As we got off the Eurostar we walked outside or in Charlie’s case ran outside, to be picked up by some minibuses who drove us all the way to the RC Lens academy centre, another “amazing” anti-social journey.
Once we settled into our dorms which were very spacious and well organised, well at least some of the rooms were, once Adam, Seb, Kit and Jonah walked in to their nice dorm, it sounded like an elephant trumpeting through a microphone. Afterwards we went down to Lidl where everyone got sweets and Pepsi’s. The journey back was all Myles telling everyone to stop doing something or to listen to him. Once we got back everyone stuffed their faces with Pepsi, even though we had a match against the academy straight after.
So while everyone had plenty of energy we didn’t quite give our best performance, losing 4-0, but our best chance was us playing nice one touch passes in the middle with Seb, Amen, me and Isaac and putting the ball out to the wing, Adam made a great run to make a switch but the pass unfortunately got stopped by a very good interception by their centre back.
We played another game which was right after our quick talk and break, and we got back on the pitch with a fuller heart and more intensity. We scored a goal which started with a pass across goal from Isaac to Arne and then to Jonah, who passed it down to the wing where Seb made a lovely ball to Adam who faked the cross and shot, which fizzed into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. Unfortunately near the end of the game we broke down and conceded 3 goals, with the ending score losing 3-1.
After our games we had to get straight on a coach to go and see RC Lens play US Orleans and, as we got on the coach, we saw that the U16 RC Lens squad was on the coach as well. Loads of us chatted with them with “good” french, Adam and Seb were sitting in the middle of all of them so they were showing them instagram posts and all different kinds of stuff. Everyone also became good friends with some of them, especially with Adam and “Brayann”.
While walking into the stadium the atmosphere was incredible, everyone in the stadium was screaming and shouting even though nothing was happening yet. As the players walked out, the stadium vibrated. As the ball was kicked the chanting began, it was french so we didn’t really know what to say but we tried to join in.
The first goal was scored by Yannick Gomes and everyone started doing a conga line around the stadium, his name booming over the loudspeaker. Another goal by Jean-Ricner Bellegarde in the 27th minute and the stadium erupted again. Then a goal from Orleans by Amine Talal in the 36th minute...all you could hear was the ball hitting the net and a faint shout from some people in the corner of the stadium surrounded by empty seats...2-1. Two more for Yannick Gomes in the 45th and 52nd minutes, 4-1. One more for Lens by Jean-Ricner Bellegarde in the 57th minute 5-1. Lastly a goal from Orleans by Anthony Le Tallec in the 84th minute, ending score 5-2.
Back on the coach it wasn’t as noisy as on the way to the stadium. Everyone had lost their voices after joining in all the chanting at the match. We got back to the dorms, had a few more sweets of course, a swig of Pepsi then finally to bed...at least for most, naming no names!
Everyone woke up with lots of energy ready for the day ahead. Myles, Adam and Dale got us all downstairs for breakfast which was great, even though Zac and Rashard's breakfast was a single piece of bread, we all hope that they enjoyed it.
We left the RC Lens centre and then went back to the RC Lens stadium, which we were all surprised about. Cyril, (who was a man who worked at RC Lens and is the guy who took us to all these places), showed all of us around the stadium; we got to sit in the subs seats and look at the 1st teams changing room, weirdly everyone was very interested in the laundry and Yannick Gomes’s locker!
We had another match to play near mid-day. When we got there we all felt ready as we walked over to the astro pitch. We started strong with some encouragement from the sideline which put us in good shape. Later on we scored the opening goal with some clever one two’s from the two centre mids, then we conceded by an interception from a sloppy pass. Later on we conceded another two goals which finished the game 3-1. We all got back to the local clubhouse to get changed and have a shower then made our way back to the minibuses, where Amen filmed Adam doing a backflip, which he succeeded in doing.
In the afternoon Myles, Dale and Adam took all of us down to a restaurant to have some burgers and chips, which were really good. After the burgers were polished off everyone was, as usual, on their phones and being extremely loud. So Miles did the obvious thing and took them away. Dale said that we weren’t getting them back until we were quiet. Suddenly it was dead silent! Once we left the restaurant everyone was taking pictures of a great big tower popping out of a row of low, lit up buildings and Charlie randomly took a picture of a street light thinking it was the moon. When we finally got back to the RC Lens centre, we were all knackered and went straight to bed.
We all got up the next morning, packed, tidied our rooms and met for breakfast downstairs. Then it was straight on to the minibuses to get our Eurostar back to London...with something healthy to eat and drink, obviously!
The whole weekend was the best. We would like to say an enormous thank you to Myles, Adam and Dale who organised this amazing opportunity, which we are really lucky in doing. Once again, thank you for everything you do for us.