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Maria Puente, USA TODAY

It's usually a good time for all when royals meet sports heroes, as was shown today when Will and Kate opened a new national sports center and met the England football (that is, soccer) team.

The team is in the midst of World Cup qualifier training but took time to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the National Football Center in St George's Park in Burton-upon-Trent, near Birmingham in the English Midlands.

As usual, it looked like a chilly day, at least for outdoor sports in shorts, but the duchess looked warm in a belted gray Reiss coat and black boots as the couple lined up with the team on the field.Three helicopters from a military helicopter flying school nearby clattered overhead in formation, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The royal couple shared jokes and chatted with team members as they posed for pictures, then got a guided tour of the 330-acre training center, which includes fields, sports medicine and science facilities, two hotels and a conference center. The team's next qualifying match is Friday and William, who is president of the Football Association and a keen Aston Villa fan, is following the preparations.

The couple also watched youngsters play on a community field named after their friend, soccer star David Beckham, and were to plant a tree, the latest of 8 million trees planted in the national forest around St George's Park.

It was the second engagement for the couple this week, their first public appearances since the end of their successful tour to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific last month and the flap over publication of topless photos of the duchess.

On Wednesday, the duchess will travel alone to the northeast of England for a day of engagements; William had been due to accompany her but he wanted to attend the funeral of his former childhood nanny, Olga Powell, who died last week.