Crystal Palace v Norwich, Saturday 18 March 2017

By Sadé Degale-Roberts

On Saturday 18 March two DSActive teams, the Crystal Palace Eagles and Norwich, met for a friendly match. Sadé, whose brother Brandon plays for the Eagles, has written up a blog about the day.

Our day started at 8.30am as we all gathered together to meet head coach Julian, assistant coach Daniel and the rest of the team. After a short wait everyone arrived and we were all pleased to see each other.

When our bus arrived everyone commented on how nice it was. It would make for a comfortable journey! There was lots of good energy and laughter as we got on board. Khash quickly made friends with the driver, Ahmed, who was very friendly with everyone.

The good energy and humour continued for the journey up to Norwich. At one point the bus travelled through a dark tunnel and Khash asked Mohammed “You scared?” Mohammed said “No” and then began to tell a ghost story. You just had to giggle!

Brandon initially opted to listen to his favourite music on his MP3. However, it didn’t take long for him and Khash to start talking about their birthdays, making plans for how they’d like to celebrate. Brandon dropped some hints about bowling for Khash’s Birthday. Both Brandon and Khash enjoy bowling regularly during the school holidays. These boys aren’t just team mates they are real friends. I am lucky enough to be able to witness their friendship and think it’s beautiful. They really care for each other.

During the journey I managed to have a short word with Khash and asked him what was going to happen in the match today? He said “tackle then pass to Johnathon and then to Mohammed and then try and score.”

When we got to the Norwich ground we were greeted by one of the football coaches. After the boys got changed in to their kit and ate a light snack it was time to head on to the pitch.

The two teams walked out onto the pitch together and then there were photographs, with the teams standing side by side next to two cardboard cut-outs of Norwich first team players in the centre of goal. A lovely memory for the day.

Then it was time for kick off! The first game ended 5-3 to Norwich but we won the next game 0-1. If I remember correctly it was an own-goal but we weren’t complaining! The Eagles really stepped up their performance in the last game and we drew 4-4.

Johnathon helped his team out with some good passing. Joshua was great at dribbling, while Khash was great at getting the ball to set up players to score a goal. Thomas scored two goals, Mohammed scored one, and Cosmin scored the last goal of the match.

After the matches were finished we had more photographs and then lunch. After lunch we went to watch the big game at Carrow Road, Norwich City versus Barnsley. It was a great way to finish the day.

Norwich won 2-0 against Barnsley. We left at 75min to say our goodbyes to the Norwich team. Julian spoke a few words and everyone thanked him for arranging the day. Then we made our way back to the bus for the journey home.

The boys were still chatty and continued with ghost stories and talking about what football teams they support. Khash kept holding up his phone, teasing me with his Chelsea screen saver…Brandon and I are both Liverpool supporters. Brandon then teased Khash saying “Chelsea lose next week”.

At one point Cosmin got a little home sick; Khash sat next to him and reassured him that it wouldn’t be too long till we all got home. Khash was so sweet; he offered Cosmin his phone to listen to some music.

When we got back we all said our goodbyes and made our way home.

What a great day! I was so glad I was able to come along. Julian has worked really well with these boys and the team have some great opportunities coming their way. There also seems to be a great partnership between the players’ parents/carers and Julian and the rest of the Crystal Palace team.

I can see that my brother Brandon really benefits from being involved in the Crystal Palace Foundation DSActive team. I hope that he’ll continue to be involved for the foreseeable future and I hope I will be around to see it!

Many thanks to Sadé for writing up a report on the Crystal Palace Eagles’ day out to Norwich!