Monday, March 16

The Squad

Eitan plays his first "friendly" representing his new club Kew Park Rangers against the Kew Association. There is a bit of heat in the match as KA is a spin-out from the larger KPR and left the club so the younger lads could play competitive matches from age seven; KPR follows the England FA guidance of over-eights so Eitan won't have the real competition until he turns nine in September. The main contention, of course, is the players KA took - generally the best, most eager boys (whose parents) want outcomes early. And play they do - KA has had over 20 matches this season so far and their game generally well oiled. The last time the two groups together, before Eitan, KPR suffered outcomes of 9-nil and so forth... KA has one player, Jack, contracted with Chelsea for his later years - the kid is eight years old. He's also butter on the pitch. So it was exciting to watch the close action and though Eitan's squad loses both matches 3-2 and 3-2, they play admirably and are always in the game. Eitan reminds me of Kelly in the Bad News Bears - he raises the level of play. He also neutralises - and outplays - Jack which has the sideline tongues wagging. The coach, pictured right, who loves his boys and a serious sort comes over to me afterwards all smiles: "Aye-tan was brilliant" he says in an English brogue. The boy and I lounge around the rest of yesterday in front of more football on TV while Sonnet takes Madeleine to the British Museum and dim sum in Chinatown.

The boy in yellow BTW is the goal-keeper or generally the worst job on the field. He's pretty damn good at it though.