Foxborough, Jamaica, Beijing, Shanghai and now London. The New England Patriots Cheerleaders (NEPC) have been globetrotting since May and most recently took a trip across the pond to represent the NFL and the Patriots during the NFL International Series. While the weekend's main attraction was a matchup at Wembley Stadium between the Patriots and the St. Louis Rams, there was plenty of action to keep fans engaged leading up to the game and the cheerleaders were a huge part of the entertainment.
Upon arriving in London early Friday morning, Patriots Cheerleaders Alexandria, Amber, LisaMarie and Stephanie P. headed straight to their hotel to unpack and get ready for the weekend. With less than two hours to rest and get acclimated to their new surroundings, the cheerleaders barely had enough time to close their eyes before they were heading out the door for a bus tour of the city.
In a weekend packed with NFL and Patriots sponsored events, the cheerleaders made sure to get all of their sightseeing in first.
"We got to see it all," said Stephanie. "We saw Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Queen's Tower, and we crammed it all into one day."
Although the cheerleaders were weary from the seven hour flight and spent most of the first day in a tourist-esque daze, the squad made sure to stop and take photos in front of each monument, all while engaging and interacting with the energetic fans that they met along the way.
"They love football. They are crazy about it and they have so much spirit," said Stephanie of the UK fans. "I feel like they would love to have a NFL team there."
The last stop of the day was at the EDF Energy London Eye: the largest cantilevered observation wheel in the world. Accompanied by Pat Patriot and Cheerleader Director Tracy Sormanti, the four Patriots Cheerleaders piled into one of the wheel's capsules and headed up to catch a glimpse of the entire city.
The next day the squad was right back at it, starting the day off with an appearance at the UK Patriots Flag Football Tournament. The UK Patriots is a popular fan club in London that gathers to watch Patriots games and engage in American Football culture. The cheerleaders were blown away by the support from the club.
"They know so much about football and they were so excited to see us," said Amber. "They are huge Patriots fans."
"They said that they would stay up until one or two in the morning to watch some of the night games because of the time difference," said Stephanie. "They are truly diehard fans."
Following the flag football tournament the cheerleaders headed for the NFL Fan Rally in Trafalgar Square to perform for the crowd. The cheerleaders were well received by their audience and one of the cheerleaders called the performance "the best of her life."
The long day ended with the UK Patriots Fan Club Pre-Game Party at the Sports Café. The party gave the cheerleaders yet another opportunity to engage their loyal fans and helped build excitement surrounding Sunday's game.
Finally, after what seemed like a week's worth of sightseeing, dancing and fan interaction, all the cheerleaders had left to do was sit back and watch the game. Unlike Sundays spent in Foxborough, the cheerleaders watched the Patriots take on the Rams from the stands with the rest of the fans. For many of them it was the first time they had actually been to a game as spectators.
"It was nice because I almost forgot what you do as a fan," said LisaMarie. "We are always there on the field during the game working the whole time. It was awesome to be able to really watch the game."
"My first Patriots game was the home-opener of my rookie season as a cheerleader, so I was never able to sit in the stands and watch the game," said Stephanie.
The cheerleaders are back in New England and although the jet setting has come to an end, Sormanti has orchestrated enough trips over the past seven months to provide her squad with a lifetime of memories. While Alexandria, Amber, LisaMarie and Stephanie will not have the opportunity to watch another game from the stands this season, they will be back on the sidelines on Sunday when the Patriots welcome the Indianapolis Colts to Foxborough.