“Seeing kids develop confidence, language skills and friendships through sport has been great. Its important we try to encourage them to be comfortable in foreign company, as the world is becoming a smaller place. The disappointing thing has been the lack of co-operation at both and educational and sporting level within the local community. We were not the catalyst for Cupar’s twin-town concept, just thought it was good to support it. It’s a matter we will take up with local councilors in coming weeks” said AMsoccer founder Austin MacPhee.
The French players arrived on Thursday morning, spent the day in Edinburgh and then met their AMsoccer host families within the local community where they stayed for four nights.
“It was a genuine pleasure to host two young footballers from Sainte Menehould over the past few days. They were a credit to their family, school and football club. Having been over in Sainte Menehould previously on a football exchange it was great to be able to return the hospitality. I hope the relationship between the two towns is strengthened by this recent trip and that the arrangement continues long into the future.” said Ken Gourlay, an AMsoccer parent from Cupar.
On Friday morning the players took the short trip to Falkland Estate and then spent time in St. Andrews. In the evening they attended an AMsoccer coaching session at Duffus Park. Each evening they stayed with their host families which challenged them to develop their English language skills and gave the local players a chance to practice French.
13 year old Corentian Godart from St. Menehould said “I have enjoyed the activities, going to Falkland, playing football and the hospitality of Finn’s family was marvelous. Also, the food has been great, different but very good!”
The players took to the pitch on Saturday morning to play an under-13 game in freezing conditions with AMsoccer running out winners in a competitive game. After a quick lunch they headed to Edinburgh where they were guests of the Hibernian Football Foundation for the Hibernian v. Cowdenbeath game at Easter Road.
“It’s fun having foreign players stay with my family and then playing against them, we had Kenyan’s stay with us in the summer and then French players this week” said Angus Mitchinson who also played in the AMsoccer project at the Brazil World Cup.
St. Menehould were back on the pitch on Sunday with a 12.30pm kick-off at Cupar’s artificial pitch with AMsoccer under 14’s. For the second day in a row the Scottish team ran out winners in an entertaining game. Lunch at Cupar Golf Course followed but the covering of snow prevented the players from taking to the course. The French players and coaches enjoyed their last night with their local host families on Sunday night prior to a Monday morning assembly at Castlehill School before heading back to Edinburgh airport.
Philippe Bouchez said “It was great to see the kids from both town’s speaking and playing together. The point is to make them understand that you can go anywhere and you shouldn’t fear to meet different people anywhere in the World. AMsoccer Club have been great, their staff, families and kids. We can trust them to deliver which has who make this possible and it allows the kids to discover Cupar in an excellent context and live among the local families.”
Plans are now in place for AMsoccer to send a team to France in April to stay with French families and enjoy a similar experience. AMsoccer Club and St. Menehould would like to thank the following people for their support: All AMsoccer families who volunteered to provide accommodation for the players and coaches, Harvey Walker 2010 Distribution (minibus supply), Hibernian Football Foundation (free tickets), Cupar Golf Club (hospitality), Cupar Round Table (donation), Locality Support Team N.E.F. (donation), AMsportstours (donation), Andy Galloway (referee services), Castlehill Primary (educational co-operation).