Young soccer players from Yellowknife led out Olympic champions the United States at the women’s World Cup on Monday.
Players from the Yellowknife Bay soccer club – nicknamed the Sundogs – walked out alongside American and Colombian players at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium as part of the Fifa World Cup’s pre-game ceremony.
The club has been in Edmonton for under-8 and under-10 tournaments last weekend. Its players received the offer from Fifa after the Sundogs bought a block of around 90 tickets for Monday’s game.
“We bought so many tickets that the World Cup organizers asked us if we wanted to supply the players to walk the teams out onto the field at the start of the game,” coach Joe Acorn told Moose FM last week.
“I was a little jealous, but pretty excited for the opportunity the kids have to go out, do this, and get that exposure to a high level of soccer.”
Twenty-two Sundogs players lined up on the field with Monday’s teams. The United States, who won the London 2012 Olympic title, beat Colombia 2-0.
Players had to be less than 140 cm tall to take part.
“They wanted a clear distinction when the players are coming onto the field between who’s the kid and who’s the actual national team player,” explained Acorn.
“We had to measure all the kids.”
Our sons's been in the care of FIFA for five hours now – no reason to worry, right? pic.twitter.com/OOlcls35fc
— Archie McLean (@archiemc) June 23, 2015
Some Sundogs players who didn’t meet the height criteria missed out on the ceremony, but sat with their team-mates to watch the game.
Tarun Budgell was one of the Sundogs players taking part. The six-year-old was excited by the opportunity but sounded even more enthusiastic about the special uniform he gets to wear.
“The shoes are really awesome,” he told Moose FM. “They are neon yellow. And the shorts are awesome, too.”