Folly Beach is a city in Charleston County, South Carolina and has a stunning stretch of coastline of soft, stone grey sand and warm water.
My old mate Neil Murphy from Cumbria (who now lives in South Carolina) took me down there today with his son George and George's partner Darcie.
It was around 11am when we arrived and the beach was starting to fill up with holiday makers. Squadrons of pelicans patrolled the skies and would later dive bomb for fish just out to sea. An amazing sight.
I plonked my jumpers down and had a kick-a-bout with Neil and George for a while. Neil and I then went asking around to see if anyone wanted a game..but no-one did.
I spotted a few people walking under the pier towards us wearing lanyards. We walked over for a chat and 5 minutes later it was game on. Turns out they were looking to start a game too !
Around 15 young people, aged 11-19 yrs from all over the US, and their leaders from the Christian based Fuge summer camp had joined us. We played 5 v 5 with 5 subs rolling on and off. As the line-ups changed so frequently, we didn't keep track of the score. Me and Neil joined in for a bit then left the troops to it.
There were some impressive talents out there, especially Annabel and Hayley who were clearly the best players. Hayley was captain material; super serious, hardworking, skilled and leading by example throughout. Annabel was quick, intelligent and a good finisher. Austin the cool cat in shades was impish and could play a bit too, scoring a cheeky back heel from a tight angle at one point.
We were joined later by a young chap called Jonah, not with the group. He was around 12 years old, a naturally gifted footballer who did the difficult things for fun. A real joy to watch these players. In fact the whole group were just brilliant with not one of them breaking concentration until they were called in for lunch an hour later.
Talking to some of the leaders, Gabrielle Rebecca, Lucas and Holly, we found out a little more about Fuge. They had around 20 summer camps throughout Charleston and the young people would stay with them for a week. On top of having fun, these young dudes would be asked to form small groups at certain times ( like this afternoon) then go and talk to strangers about Jesus and the bible.
At the end of the game today, Lucas gathered everyone in to say a prayer for my safe travels, and little Zach told me off for being a sinner 😂😂
Thanks to George and Darcie for the brilliant photos and to Neil and Michelle for everything 👍👍 Superb!