WIRAC futsal cup makes Warwick feel like home
SOCCER: When these English workers found themselves over 16,500 km away from home, they decided the only way to make Warwick feel a little less foreign was to bring their favourite sport down under.
Henry Leach, who worked at the Warwick Solar Farm, along with a group of other English expatriates, was looking for a way to lighten up his 60 hour working week when he came across a flyer for Thursday night futsal at WIRAC.
Even though he didn't really know his co-workers that well, he asked them if they wanted to start an English team, and when they agreed, from there, a friendship and fierce rivalry started.
"None of us were friends before we got here, but from a love of soccer we're real good friends now, we're even travelling to Sydney together when the farm ends," he said.
"We were well into it, and won every single week, except for one draw."
Through playing, the English team also got to bond with their Aussie rivals when they weren't beating them.
"We pretty much smashed them every single time, it was quite a rivalry, we had our English and Australian flags out. It was a brutal competition for weeks but good fun," he said.
"It was good having that little bit of rivalry and competitive soccer, as you call it here."
While the futsal cup recently ended Thursday with Mr Leach's team winning, 5-4 over the Warwick side, the bonds he's made with the Rose City will outlast the tournament.
"It's not as popular as in England, where everyone from 4 to 45 will play soccer on Saturday, but the passion is still the same here and they knew all the English teams," he said.
"It's what got us to connect quite a lot."
As the winter sport ends, so does Mr Leach's time at the solar farm but he said he can't think of a better way to farewell the town he's come to call home.
"It's a great sign off to living in Warwick."