10/09/2012

Will and Kate get their kicks from soccer elite

 Kate teamPrince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge speak with England manager Roy Hodgson, left, and coaching staff at the opening of St. George's Park, the Football Association's  National Football Centre in Burton-Upon-Trent on Tuesday. (Reuters)

In a sea of English soccer superstars in short pants, the Duchess of Cambridge still managed to stand out on the field Tuesday.

Kate talkShe and Prince William, whose titles include President of the Football Association, had travelled to Burton-Upon-Trent in Staffordshire for the opening of St. George's Park and the FA's National Football Centre.

Wearing a $500 grey Angel coat from Reiss, a $100 Betony belt and very non-soccer-like knee-high black suede boots, the duchess joined William for a tour of the $160-million facility which is the new training centre for England's teams. She showed no shyness about her football knowledge -- or lack thereof -- as she chatted with players (including Adam Johnson and Frank Lampard, left).

The couple arrived by helicopter at a nearby airfield and were whisked to the facility, where they were also treated a flypast from three Squirrel helicopters of the Defence Helicopter Flying School.

In a short speech to thank those who contributed to the centre, the Duke, as is his wont, couldn't resist bringing up his little brother: "I feel tempted to cry 'God for Harry, England and St. George,' but I really don't want to lower the tone by bringing my brother into it."

ColeThe prince praised the new facility, which boasts 12 pitches among its 330 acres. "It is more than just the university from which thousands of highly qualified coaches will graduate," he said in his speech. "It is also a magnificent example of the sort of social initiative that brings opportunity and purpose to wider British life."

One of the more interesting moments came when William posed next to Ashley Cole (right) for a 'team' picture. Cole, who plays for Chelsea, has been under a lot of heat after attacking the FA via Twitter for finding teammate John Terry guilty of making racist comments during a match. The FA had questioned the evidence Cole presented at a hearing. On Friday, Cole tweeted: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFT***S."

On Tuesday, face-to-face with the FA president, Cole -- who is in line for a heavy fine -- looked a little sheepish as he shook William's hand and covered his eyes while William grinned and made a joke. Sources told the Daily Mail that the Prince told Cole: "If you continue to be a naughty boy then they will take your Twitter account off you."

The visit comes in the middle of one of the busiest weeks at home for the royal couple. They were in London for a reception with scholarship winners on Monday. On Wednesday, Kate will be flying solo in northeast England, making stops at Newcastle, Gateshead and Stockton-on-Tees. William will miss those engagements as he attends the funeral of his former nanny, Olga Powell. On Thursday, he'll be at St. James's Palace for a gala dinner.

Team picture
Prince William and Kate pose with the England team during the official launch of The Football Association's National Football Centre at St George's Park on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

HelicopterHelicopters fly past the training pitch during a visit by Prince William and Kate to the FA's National Fooball Centre on Tuesday. (AFP/Getty Images)

Gym
Prince William and Kate visit the new gym at the National Football Centre at St. George's Park. (Getty Images)

Reaction
Prince William and Kate try to master a reaction tester in the new gym at the National Football Centre. (Getty Images)

Kate vertical  Kate vertical 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate remained stylish in spite of the workout at a reaction tester. The Duchess wore a coat from one of her High Street favourites, Reiss, coupled with a Betony belt and black suede boots.

Pool
Prince William chats to Jermaine Defoe in the hyrotherapy suite during the official launch of The Football Association's National Football Centre. (Getty Images)

Bike
Prince William and Kate meet some of the women demonstrating the latest in stationary bikes at St. George's Park in Burton-Upon-Trent. (Getty Images)

Centre
An aerial view of St. George's Park, home of the new National Football  Centre at Burton-Upon-Trent. It boasts 12 soccer pitches, two hotels, and state-of-the-art training facilities and therapy clinics. (Getty Images)


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