Royal Navy thrash US Navy at football

Grace Hutton after the cut
Pictures by Ellie Pilmoor

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SAILORS battled for the honour of their ship – on the football pitch.

It was all laughing and joking before the match, but when the whistle was blown, the game was on at HMS Temeraire as the Brits faced the Yanks for ‘soccer’, as the Americans would have it.

The teams line up at HMS Temeraire

The teams line up at HMS Temeraire

After spending the day with the crew of HMS Diamond, sailors from USS Theodore Roosevelt challenged them to a game.

And as the sun set on a chilly March night, the ball skills of both teams were admirable.

But it wasn’t even close as the team from HMS Diamond thrashed the Americans 15-2.

There were no hard feelings, though, and both teams shook hands and enjoyed a drink after the match.

Tom Dobson, 24, left, a weapon engineer for the Royal Navy, with Brian Flood, 31, who is serving on USS Theodore Roosevelt

Tom Dobson, 24, left, a weapon engineer for the Royal Navy, with Brian Flood, 31, who is serving on USS Theodore Roosevelt

Brian Flood, 31, who is serving on USS Theodore Roosevelt, said: ‘It’s fantastic to get out here and meet some of the Brits.

‘It’s nice to interact with the local teams, rather than just go and see the sights.

‘I have been playing my whole life.

‘To get to play some games was really exciting.’

Joseph Vallely, 24, who is serving on HMS Diamond, said: ‘It was a good experience.

‘We work a lot together at sea so socialising, playing football, it helps.

‘If we work with that ship again, we may come across some people we know.

‘It’s always good for morale. We have been with them all day, they came on our ship, so it’s been good for them to see what our life is like and hopefully we will get to see what their life is like when we get to go on their ship.’

He said he was proud to be involved with the football match.

Jean Aragon, 21, a medic from New Orleans, Louisiana, said it was ‘a dream come true’ to be playing football in England.

‘I have always wanted to come to Europe and England in particular,’ he said.

‘I’m a big fan of football so it was great to be with fellow navy members.’

Regarding the match, he added: ‘It was pretty serious.

‘We wanted to win, representing Theodore Roosevelt. Soccer is growing so we have played quite a lot.’

The 100,000-tonne ship has anchored off Stokes Bay, Gosport, as it is too big to sail into Portsmouth Harbour. The ship is crewed by more than 5,000 sailors.

The carrier last visited Portsmouth in 2009, just before a four-year overhaul which transformed her into the US fleet’s most technologically-advanced carrier. She carries 90 aircraft.