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Teens head to England to play soccer – Ocean County Observer
June 8, 2007

Teens head to England to play soccer

Ocean County Observer


TOMS RIVER — T.J. Boyd can’t wait to boot a soccer ball around in England.

The 15-year-old Toms River High School East student will be off to the United Kingdom in August for a 10-day soccer excursion with the Jersey Shore BOCA Alliance Team and the Toms River Youth Soccer Club’s Red Bulls.

“When we play the teams over there it will be tough competition,” Boyd said, adding he has no fear of squaring off against English players. “No matter what we will be playing better because they take soccer a lot more seriously.”

Donny Sanders, coach of the Red Bull team, and Guy Lockwood, trainer and head coach for the BOCA squad, united forces to see that 24 of their players have a shot of playing soccer in Europe.

“The idea of this trip was something I have talked about for awhile, but it didn’t come together until we joined forces with the Toms River group,” Lockwood said.

Since the two coaches have began fundraising for the trip, Sanders said the players have not stopped talking about the August adventure.

“A lot of these boys eat, sleep and drink soccer,” he said. “When they are warming up for practice you can hear them talking about England, because the epitome of soccer is European soccer.”

Sanders son, Zach, 15, who attends Toms River High School South, said though he looks forward to to playing soccer in England, he anticipates how the trip will strengthen his athleticism, making his game even stronger in America.

“I think it will be good because I will get better and right after the trip I am going to start school soccer,” he said, adding, “I am not scared of playing them. I know they are going to be good but our team is good so there will be a good battle over there.”

Aside from learning how to tear up the field, Zach Sanders said he has learned “to be a team player and responsibility,” from a sport he has played since the age of 4.

As the team goalie, he said the one thing that enters his mind when he sees the ball flying toward the net are his teammates.

“All I think about is my team and how I can’t let them down,” he said. “They play so good and it is my job not to let anyone score on me.”

Sanders will have plenty of chances to keep the soccer ball out of the net as the team will be playing English teams in Liverpool, Manchester and London, as well as a couple of matches in Wales.

Donny Sanders said the 24 local soccer players, which attend 15 different area high schools, will not only play on English fields, but will have the opportunity to visit the Wembley, Liverpool and Stratford Stadiums.

“We are also going to take them to Shakespeare’s birthplace and Conway Castle in Wales,” he said, adding some of the player’s parents would like to make a stop at the Beatles’ Museum in Liverpool.

But it all comes back down to soccer for the boys.

Tyler Wynn, 15, who attends Toms River High School East, has been watching English soccer games ever since he could turn the channel on the television. “I always watch English games and always wondered what it would be like to play there, so I am really pretty excited,” Wynn said.

Sanders and Lockwood have arranged a 2007 England Tour Golf Outing to help raise funds for the trip, inviting professional soccer players from the New York Red Bulls to the July 18 outing at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood.

To reserve a spot on the green or to donate money to the Jersey Shore BOCA Alliance Team and the Toms River Youth Soccer Club’s Red Bulls, contact Gerry Mako at (732) 539-4871.

Ocean County Observer