If you are one to watch a soccer match from the beginning, you most likely have seen this heartfelt scene: players walking out to the field excited kids holding onto their hands.
You may have wondered why soccer players walk out with kids. There are many reasons why this happens at the beginning of a match in soccer.
This heartfelt scene has been a tradition in soccer matches as it holds a history that dates back in time.
This pre-match tradition is a peak of joy and excitement for many kids as they walk onto the field and experience for a moment what dream they want to fulfill.
In this article, we explain to you what this is and what this pre-match tradition means. Let’s get right into it.
Why Do Soccer Players Walk Out with kids?
Soccer players walk out with kids holding their hands before starting a match for these four reasons:
- For others to perceive soccer as a family-friendly game
- Promotional campaign
- To remind soccer clubs to give those kids a chance to fulfill their dreams
- It also creates chances for soccer clubs to make a profit
The kids who walk out with soccer players hand in hand before a game are otherwise known as “mascot players/children” or “player escorts”
When Did The Tradition Of Soccer Players Walking Out with kids Start?
This tradition of having kids walk out with soccer players hand in hand started in the 1990s-2000s. In the 1990s, it wasn’t as intense now. In the 1990s, a child would walk out with players to start the game.
In the 2000s, at the Euro Championships, this tradition featured more than one kid and that year marked the beginning of the tradition happening frequently.
Following the year 2002, the FIFA World Cup featured mascot players or player escorts ranging from year 6 to year 10 walking out onto the field alongside soccer players, each with their mascots holding their hand in hand with joy and excitement plastered on their faces.
This heartfelt scene eventually promoted awareness of charity and humanitarianism as it led to a program known as
“Say Yes for Children” which is partnered by FIFA and UNICEF. This program’s focus is to promote and protect the right of all children to healthy recreation and quality primary education”
The statement further said:
“Children are being given a prime role at each match, accompanying each player onto the pitch in a symbolic action reminding football enthusiasts that they have a major role to play in building a world fit for children”FIFA and UNICEF
To Remind Soccer Clubs To Give Kids A Chance To Fulfill Their Dreams
To these kids, simply walking onto the field of dreams and opportunity is enough reason for them to tackle all odds and fulfill their dreams of playing soccer someday.
Kids love soccer and even talk about it, from their words and expressions, you know how much they enjoy watching the game.
Soccer is a game that is not only loved by these kids but is a dream worth fighting for and that is reason enough to give them a taste firsthand of how the field looks and works.
This heartfelt scene has helped shaped and motivate star Player, Wayne Rooney, who was once a mascot player and now he is one of the highest goal scorers in soccer today.
Creates Chances For Soccer Clubs To Make Profit
Soccer clubs most of the time promote these mascot players by hosting a competition, having charity causes, and even getting paid.
Many mascot players have walked and graced the field with soccer players by winning the competition or getting selected by charity causes.
Other times, they are paid to allow kids to walk onto the field. There are programs where the payments take place and kids are trained on how to be mascot players – walk onto the field.
These programs are expensive, it was reported that clubs charge as much as $800 for a mascot player.
Soccer clubs also make money through promotional sponsorships, some times brands promote their business through mascot players by displaying their brands and logos on the shirts of these players. An example of a brand is McDonald’s.
For Others To Perceive Soccer As A Family-friendly Game
With kids aged 6-10 in the forefront of the matches had some purity and innocence to the game of soccer.
As such, there is the belief that there will be no room for violence but rather it helps promote love, family, and friends.
This is aimed at promoting and developing bonds, healthy bonds with the people and the community at large.
Some time ago, kids were not the only ones who walk out with soccer players hand in hand. To celebrate Mother’s Day in 2015, team Ajax walked out hand in hand with each player’s mom to celebrate the woman in their life.
No wonder it led to a 3-0 victory that day. I mean, there’s a greater win than honoring one’s parents.
On another occasion, we’ve seen older parents, even dogs walk out onto the field to begin the match with other soccer players.
Indeed, this has helped in receiving soccer as a game that sees kids, even dogs as friends and family.
Soccer – the game that brings people together like nothing else. And the reason why those players walk out with cute little kids is to give them a taste of the dream – to become the next Messi or Ronaldo, or at least get a chance to show off their soccer skills in front of a crowd.
It’s not just about the kids and their dreams. Soccer clubs need to make a profit too, and what better way to do that than by celebrating with family and friends?
It’s a great way to raise awareness for charity – because who doesn’t love a good cause?
It’s a heartwarming scene that brings a smile to even the grumpiest of soccer fans. And cute kids showing off their pearly whites on the field are just too cute to resist.