Hollywood actor Tom Hanks was invited to give his favourite British soccer team a pep talk before watching them play for the first time in person on Tuesday (24Jul12).
The Big star has been a devoted fan of England's Aston Villa Football Club ever since he read about the team during a promotional trip to London more than 10 years ago, but had never seen them at a live game.
After learning the squad was jetting to the U.S. for a pre-season training tour, Hanks jumped at the chance to watch Aston Villa scrimmage against the Portland Timbers in Oregon.
He explains, "I'm on vacation, I've been working all this whole year so I've got two months off essentially. When I found out that AV was going to be up here for this exhibition match, I started planning right away."
Hanks even made an appearance in the locker room before kick-off, but admits his advice was probably useless to the professional players.
He adds, "I don't know what to say to guys before they go out and play a match! I know it's a friendly match, but I think all those guys were thinking, 'Man, I better play good today otherwise I'm not going to get much playing time later on in this season.' So they're all under a lot of pressure - I don't know what they need a chucklehead like me down there for! But (they're) nice guys... anytime they'll put up with me, I appreciate their patience."
The Oscar winner's inspirational chat clearly worked - the teams tied at 2-2, but Aston Villa went on to win 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out.