Academy Update: A Deserved Day Off

After flying halfway around the world, going through 3-4 training sessions, playing two games and watching another, the Academy players received a well earned day off this afternoon.

Following yesterday's loss to Manchester City, the squad made the long journey south on the M6 to Norwich in the heart of East Anglia.

It was clear, and not the least bit surprising by the amount of work they put in, that the boys were a bit tired last night and today. As a result, the coaches took them on an extended jog/walk around the grounds of the famed Dunston Hall where the team is staying. That walk concluded on the small soccer field next to a golf course here at the hotel.

On the field, rather than go through a training session, the teams were divided up into groups of two for a knockout - Crossbar Challenge where each team had to hit the crossbar three times, once with the right, once with the left and then a third with either foot, all from 25 yards out.

The original group of nearly 40 has been whittled down to eight or four teams of two.

One team that is not still in the Challenge is that of coaches Kenny Arena and Matt Mennell, who were knocked out in the quarters when Fabrizio Soto hit a left footed ball off the bar to seal his team's win, much to the delight of all the players.

The semis and finals are scheduled for tomorrow at the hotel ahead of the games against Ipswich Town.

After today's Crossbar Challenge, the complete group were given a few hours off in the city of Norwich and giving them the opportunity to see what life is like in one of the most popular cities in England. In addition to being rich with culture and history, Norwich, which is the home city of Trevor James, is one of the top shopping destinations in all of England. And judging by the number of shopping bags the kids re-boarded the bus with, they would agree.