I've been to Buckingham Palace before, but not like my friend, Erin Cherneski, and her husband, who recently moved to England from Bel Air.
I was there with thousands of other tourists, mostly to watch the changing of the guard, but also to see what I could of the royal palace. It wasn't anything else the average tourist doesn't get to see.
Erin and Jim, however, not only got to see perhaps the first and only professional soccer game played at Buckingham Palace, they got to meet Prince William. Quite a brush with fame, if you ask me. Erin even got her picture taken with the one-day King of England. To see it, visit http://www.exploreharford.com.
How did they get to do that? Interesting story.
Jim invented a new technology that is applied to socks that helps to stabilize the foot within athletic footwear. TruSox stop movement within the shoe. When wearing TruSox, players feel more explosive when changing directions and feel more stable on their plant foot when striking a ball.
Two of the highest profile strikers – Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, of the Liverpool Football Club – are among the more than 60 players in the English Premier League, the highest profile soccer league in the world, who wore Jim's socks last year.
"We hope to grow that number this year," Jim said.
While the socks are sold in the United States, the Cherneski family moved to England because the English Premier League, along with some of the other European leagues, is the epicenter for worldwide football, what we know here as soccer. When players in the English Premier League are wearing TruSox, people are curious and want to try them. The UK market is the market driver for the USA and many other locations around the world.
So in late August, the family (Jim, Erin and their sons, Riley, 9, and Logan, 5) moved to Bowdon, Cheshire, United Kingdom, about three hours outside of London.
"Initially we said that we will live here for one year, but we will have to see how God leads us," Erin said.
As for getting to Buckingham Palace for the soccer match, Jim said one of the distributors of TruSox in Scotland contacted The Civil Service Football Club to see if they wanted to wear TruSox in the match at Buckingham Palace. They tried using TruSox in their training and decided to get them for the whole team. He and Erin then were invited to attend and were told that only 200 guests would be attending.
The match at Buckingham Palace was the 150th celebration of the Football Association, the governing body of football (soccer) in England. The Football Association, or just simply the FA, is also the organization that drew up the laws of the game. Prince William is the honorary president of the Football Association and organized this event to celebrate 150 years of the Football Association. It was the first time in history that a match was played at Buckingham Palace, Jim said.
So Erin knew Prince William would be there, but she didn't think she'd be able to get as close to him as she did.
"Being in the garden it was all very relaxed. Near the end of the day I saw some people taking pictures and I decided to ask if it would be possible. I decided to make sure it happened," Erin said.
She talked to him very briefly and said he was "super nice and very humble." When the first picture didn't turn out because of the sun, Prince William suggested they take another.
On that second one, "we put arms around each other like we were old friends. It wasn't till after and I looked at the picture that I realized I did that with the His Royal Highness Prince William!!" she wrote.
You can sense the excitement in her writing. I'm sure she was just a little star struck.
To be in England not even three months and get to meet and have your picture taken with Prince William, I'd bet people who have lived in the country their entire lives haven't gotten that experience.
The family is adjusting to the move, after many challenges getting settled. The boys are getting situated in school and making friends, which Erin said has helped tremendously.
"It was a rough go in the beginning with the boys in school but being involved in outside sports and activities after school has really helped them," she said. "Driving, as you can imagine, was a bit challenging at first but now we are used to it. I still get a bit nervous on the very narrow side roads."
Overall, she said, it has been a good transition for the family.
It sounds like a great adventure Erin and Jim and boys have embarked on. We miss you here but wish you success in your endeavor. Come back and visit, and don't forget to share more of your encounters.