Exeter City played host to Canadian youth side Calgary Foothills on their 12-day visit to the UK as the club continues to build connections with the country’s emerging football scene.
The under-13/14 sides made the journey to the Cliff Hill training ground where they took part in several games against the Grecians youngsters, before travelling to Dorchester Town to witness the City first team record an exciting 6-1 pre-season win.
Many of those travelling youngsters, who had the chance to meet City chairman Julian Tagg and director of football, Steve Perryman, witnessed their first taste of watching professional football and were treated to a goal feast by Paul Tisdale’s men.
Tommy Wheeldon, former Everton player, provided a close link and helped to organise the visit of the young Canadian players who are head coached by Tommy Jnr.
The tour saw them act to raise awareness of the development of Canadian football, as well as strengthen ties with the likes of Exeter City.
It is also hoped that it will show future generations, who may not make it to become a professional in England, that the door will not be shut on them and there are plenty of opportunities to continue playing, but to learn as well in a country such as Canada.
The connection between the club and their Canadian friends began to emerge when former Exeter City academy players Josh Read and Dan Hayfield moved to St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada on scholarship deals.
The scholarships offer an opportunity for young footballers, who may not have been offered professional contracts, to continue to play football as well as develop their education.
Following the conclusion of the season in mid-April, Josh and Dan have moved to Western Canada in Alberta to join Calgary Foothills in the Premier Development League (PDL.)
The league spans across North America and the former City boys compete in the Northwest Division playing against the likes of Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders, both of which are Major League Soccer Clubs who enter their under-23 sides into the PDL.
Calgary Foothills ended the 2017 season in second place, narrowly behind the Timbers and were beaten by them in the play-off match.