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Soccer History (Continued)

An update on last month's story about the effort to organize a match in Normandy to commemorate a 1944 game between a local French team and a U.S. Army Air Force group:

An American, Jim Frison, who is assisting with the research, tells me that organizer Jan Milders, a Dutchman, is hoping to stage the event this June 6 (D-Day) in Saint-Pierre-Eglise. Milders has also apparently located one of the players: British war hero Tom Neil, a liaison with the American 100th Fighter Wing during the Normandy invasion.

Milders: "After a bit of Internet sleuthing, I contacted Wing Commander Neil. I asked him if he had any recollection of the game: 'Remember it? I organized it!' and he told me he had played in it. A lovely man who wants to help and tell the story. If physically possible, he is very willing to come over for the match!"

Milders also located the referee's daughter and a French player. The local paper is providing coverage. "The event is really beginning to live in the local community's mind," he said. "I'm getting loads of calls from people who were there or who just want to show their support."

For more about the original match, click here. To learn more about Neil, click here.

Thanks to everyone who has e-mailed suggestions on how to locate the participants and navigate military channels. We will keep you updated as the project progresses.

By Steve Goff  |  January 9, 2009; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  History  
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A fitting labor of love going on here...

There will, of course, be a Goff story coming out of all of this at some point, correct?

Posted by: seahawkdad | January 9, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

We'll see how things progress. I'd love to get over there for the reunion, but it's right around the time of the USA qualifier in Costa Rica.

Posted by: Steve Goff | January 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Well done to all involved here, especially Soccer Insider loyalists who have provided information. That's great stuff.

Posted by: joedoc1 | January 9, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Winston Churchill

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 9, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

The photos of the match are incredible!

Posted by: OWNTF | January 9, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink."
--Lady Astor to Winston Churchill;

His reply, "Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it."
-- Winston Churchill;

Posted by: delantero | January 9, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

The photos are definitely great stuff.

Ya gotta like the keeper in long pants and a cap and the GI's trying to team up on the young French lass . . . and did they play in the undies?

Posted by: delantero | January 9, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

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