Longtime followers of the blog will remember that each year at this time, our family gets a new crop of Lads staying in our home. They’re British referees here for Dallas Cup, America’s largest international youth soccer tournament held Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday every year.

Dallas Cup celebrates its 30th year this year, and it has strong roots in Lake Highlands. Matches were played at The Boneyard for many years, and the non-profit event grew to depend on LH volunteers for everything from planning logistics to helping with transportation to hosting young players to housing referees. Many matches are still played at Richland College, but main events, opening ceremonies and marquee matches are now held at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco. Most of the volunteers, however, continue to be LH families.

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Our Lads arrived late Tuesday evening and enjoyed a homemade barbecue at the LH home of Debby and George Kondrach. They were exhausted from a long day of travel – British Airways employees are on strike and their travel plans required major adjustments. Yesterday, they worked out on the grounds of the LH Rec Center (referees must be agile and fit to run down the field with young players and call the game), then they headed downtown to tour the Sixth Floor Museum.

It’s the first time in America for our three lads, and they’re having a grand time so far. Dean, 20, is the cheeky one – a fiery kid from northern England whose strong accent sounds Scottish to my Texan ears (I can’t understand a word he says). Leigh, also 20, is the polite one – he wants to be a high school PE teacher and he’s hoping for a tour of LHHS and to chat with LH coaches about how athletics are taught in America. We also have Steve Martin, 30, who’s farther along in his refereeing career than the others. All are delightful.

So far, their favorite stop has been Mi Cocina, where they loved the naaaa-chos (with an a like apple). They declined politely on the jalapenos. They can’t believe how big the houses are and how pretty the girls are in LH, and they felt right at home with our overcast, drizzly conditions last night. After dinner they spent time at Fox and Hound, which is as close to a British Pub as LH gets. I hope you’ll come over and say hello if you encounter them around town this week.