BROOME, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A cultural exchange centered around a mutual love of soccer is taking place within 2 local school districts this week.

The Chenango Forks and Maine-Endwell varsity boys soccer teams are hosting a team from The Harvey Grammar School from Folkstone, England, about an hour south of London.

Every other year, 17 and 18 year-olds from The Harvey School come to the U-S to play soccer, which they call football, first against college teams at Alfred University and then against high school teams from our area.

Last Friday, they held a friendly or match against players from Forks and M-E.

While here, they stay with host families.

Harvey School Head Coach James Walton first came as a student in 2005.

“It’s a trip for experiences, for culture, for soccer as well,” said Walton. “It’s just one of those opportunities which I don’t think any other school in England has. Because we don’t stay in hotels, we stay with families and that is the important aspect of things.”

Walton said that since he began returning as a staff member in 2014, he’s seen a significant improvement in the quality of play by the Americans.

Forks Varsity Boys Soccer Coach Jarod McMullen said that his players can learn a different style and discipline from the English players.

He said, “An opportunity for our players to learn from them and hopefully they can learn a little bit from us. But not just on the pitch, off the pitch as well. We have an itinerary when we’re not playing soccer for them to get a chance to see a little bit of what this area has to offer.”

McMullen said the foreign exchange programs often center around language or other academics as opposed to sports.

He hopes this is the beginning of a tradition and that at some point players from Forks and M-E might be able to visit The Harvey Grammar School in England.