If you’re into soccer or football, you must have noticed players entering into the field are often accompanied by little children. But have you ever wondered why is it so? And what is its significance? Well, now that you’re thinking about it, this article will answer all of your queries regarding why kids enter football field with players.
Though you might have seen kids walking out onto the field holding hands with players in a number of soccer matches, this tradition has been carried forward across major team-based sports including cricket in their pre-game ceremonies during the singing of each team’s national anthem.
So, who are these smiling and excited kids we see before each game? These children are officially known as player escorts or mascots and this tradition has not always been a feature of these games, having been introduced as a relatively modern concept.
Read along with the article to know everything related to the topic as we discuss ‘Why Kids Enter Football Field With Players?’
Know Why Kids Enter Football Field With Players | Inception, Significance and More
From how this tradition got started to ultimately the four reasons why kids enter football field with players, follow through the subsections to get a better idea about the topic.
Inception of Concept | How it All Started?
Like mentioned before, the practice of players walking down the passageway onto the pitch with children is a relatively newer concept dating back to the 90s. Throughout the 1990s during some important games, only one child or escort used to accompany the whole team, like during the 1999 FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Newcastle.
However, the custom soon became more regular and mainstream in the early 2000s with one kid assigned for each player among a full squadron of children accompanying both the teams. The emergence of this concept sees its roots following FIFA’s announcement about its partnership with UNICEF in a ‘Say Yes for Children’ campaign to improve and protect children’s lives.
Even though the Euro Championships held in 2000 was the first major tournament for this tradition, the concept of kids walking out onto the field with players became a popular phenomenon with the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Reasons Why Kids Enter Football Field With Players
The real cut-to-the-chase answer would be because the Football Clubs require their players to walk out with children. But what’s in it for those clubs? That’s what we are going to discuss in the following reasons as to why kids enter football field with players.
1. To Promote Campaigns
More often than not, the factor that had a hand in this tradition’s inception is also a major reason why kids enter football field with players.
The partnered program of ‘Say Yes for Children’ between FIFA and UNICEF was not only inclined towards raising awareness towards the campaign but also as a symbolic reminder to football enthusiasts about their major role in building a world fit for children.
However, these campaigns are not just limited to children. There have been special occasions where soccer teams walked down to the field accompanied by parents, older members of the community and even animals.
A few examples include the Netherlands team, Ajax’s players walking out to the pitch with their mothers on the special occasion of Mother’s Day in 2015.
Again in 2015, the players from Sao Paulo FC walked down the field with dogs as their mascots in order to raise awareness about the problem of stray dogs and to support the cause for their adoption.
2. To fulfill Children’s Dreams
OK. Let’s be honest for a second here. A Football lover to a Football lover!
As a kid, you must have dreamt or even thought about sharing a walk across the field with your favorite soccer heroes. That moment full of pride, excitement, and nervousness of meeting and walking out to the pitch with your idols in front of thousands of fans still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
These opportunities not only fulfill the dreams of these kids but also inspire them to be professional and top-class players.
An apt example here would be Wayne Rooney. Before becoming an international pro footballer, Rooney walked the field as a mascot.
As a child, Rooney supported Everton FC and eventually got the opportunity to walk beside its players in the Everton vs Liverpool game of 1996. Since then, Rooney went on to become the highest ever goal scorer for the England national team before retiring and is currently serving as the manager for Derby County.
Apart from meeting and walking out with their favorite idols, these mascots also get a chance to tour the stadium and even get signed merchandise based on the policies employed by different FCs.
3. To Make Profits for FCs
Even though the selection of these player escorts is usually based on the chances of winning some competitions and tournaments or pickings from a charity, you may get the option to pay for such an experience depending upon the clubs.
Apart from charging payments as high as $800/child for these programs, the clubs also make money through sponsorships in the form of brand logos displayed on the kids’ shirts.
As part of its Player Escort Program, the 2014 World Cup sponsor – McDonald’s chose and sent 1,408 children to Brazil to be the player mascots throughout the tournament.
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4. To Promote Peace
Anyone who follows football knows that it can get dangerous and ugly out in the field. From outbreaks of violence among fans to protecting the players from fits of anger by the crowd as they throw water bottles and whatnot, the sport has seen it all.
Bringing out the players holding hands with child mascots restores the integrity of the sport as being a family-friendly game. In addition to that, using kids as player escorts promotes peace by including the elements of innocence and purity portrayed by these kids, making it a major reason why kids enter football field with players.
We hope the article gave you proper insight and knowledge as to why kids enter football field with players. From promoting awareness through campaigns to maintaining peace among the fans, the reasons for kids’ presence in the field as mascots vary.
Now that you know the reasons, go on and ask your football-loving friends about the same. And share the article with them so that they can have first-hand knowledge on the topic as well. If you liked the content, don’t forget to follow Path of Ex for more interesting news and updates on Lifestyle, Entertainment, and Technology.
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