This past week ten female players from Medway Towns Anchorians Football Club embarked on an 11,754 mile round trip to Chancheng in China to play football against local schools in the Foshan district of Chancheng. The all girls team from the Angels arm of Anchorians FC was invited by the FOSHAN Chancheng Government to take part in a friendly football tournament over a seven day period and comprised of: Edona Hyseni, Bethany Willis, Robyn Jones, Hana Roob, Erin Pomphrey, Hannah Hosegood, Abigail Smart, Hanna Crockett, Abbi Collins & Katie Willis, along with team manager Leigh Willis and coaches Barry Hosegood & Darren Smart.
However football was only a small part of the exchange, as the ladies had first-hand experience of the Chinese Culture, integrating in lessons at both No 3 & No 14 Middle schools, which included pottery, Chinese calligraphy, fan dancing, Chinese cooking and English lessons. Player Robyn Jones said “It was truly an unforgettable experience, playing football in a challenging climate with both Chinese and fellow team members; experiencing a variety of art forms (e.g. Kung Fu and Calligraphy). Whilst also, trying traditional food and meeting fantastic people.
Both on and off the pitch we soon formed new friendships, which we hope to maintain in years to come. Our team can’t thank everyone involved enough, for organising this phenomenal experience, that I hope will be available to more teams in the future. Yet, when asked to describe our week to one of the middle schools, my team members and I where left almost speechless, describing it repeatedly as ‘amazing’”.
This exchange trip would not have been possible without the assistance and various liaising from the Chairman of Medway UK and Chancheng-Foshan Friendship Association and local Businessman Ming Yau. Mr Yau alongside the Chancheng Government, organised an incredible schedule for the team including opening & closing ceremonies that featured on Chinese TV and newspapers. Mr.Xie Qibo, Deputy Director of Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau of Chancheng District said “Since the establishment of sister-cities relationship between Medway and Chancheng 14 years ago, both cities have placed much value on the exchanges and cooperation in culture, education and sports.
The football exchange this year displayed superb athletic performances and football culture of young people of both sides. It’s not just all about football but also a wonderful cultural adventures for the Anchorians delegation. Students fully experienced traditional Chinese culture by taking part in calligraphy class, pottery class and cooking class. We have deepened our friendship in the exchange activities. The past 7 days have witnessed friendship and sportsmanship on the field. Players from both sides have shown off their great perseverance, given their very best in the game, enjoying the pure fun of football and strengthen the bond of two sides. Everyone is the winner of 2017 Chancheng-Medway Women’s Youth Football Exchange. We have won each other’s heart and friendship and it’s great to see friendly smiles on the faces of all the participants. Let's look forwards to the next year's competition.”
As for the football itself, the team played 4 games during the week, the first game at No.14 Middle School was a great way of showing the relationship between the two cities as the teams were mixed up for a friendly game. The 2nd game that featured the opening ceremony saw the Angels win 6-1 and collect the trophy. The next two matches were against the No.3 Middle School and were tightly fought contests, with the first game finishing 1-1. The 2nd and final game of the trip was very close affair with both teams having chances to take the lead and with around a 1000 spectators looking on Hana Roob slotted home a cross field ball to give the angels a 1-0 win and collect their 2nd trophy of an incredible week.
Anchorians FC welcomes all abilities and has opportunities to participate for girls from U7 – U18, please visit our website www.anchoriansfc.co.uk for more information.