Wed Apr 27 12:25pm EDT
YouTube videos have led to a number of footballers getting signed by clubs around the world, but this might be the first time it's worked for an 18-month-old. It's very much a publicity stunt, but the popular YouTube clip of young Baerke van der Meij kicking balls into his toy chest caught the attention of relegation-threatened Dutch top flight club VVV-Venlo and prompted the club to sign him to a 10-year professional contract. Though, it is made clear that the contract is a "symbolic" one.
From the Telegraph:
The toddler joined VVV's star midfielder Ken Leemans during a training session in De Koel Stadium on Tuesday before being offered the "symbolic" contract.
"The toddler's favourite position has not yet been determined. However, we can speak of a right-footed player with a very good kicking technique, perseverance and, importantly: football genes via his grandfather," said a VVV Venlo press release.
Baerke's grandfather used to play for the club and his family still lives in the city of Venlo.
As silly as this whole thing is, VVV-Venlo really did a great job of selling it, even going so far as to have the little boy attend a press conference and sign a contract. Well, scribble on one, anyway. Here are some pictures from the event...
Between the fauxhawk, the runny nose, and the satisfied look on his face, I'd say little Baerke has a bright future ahead of him.
Of course, Arsenal have long been the subject of jokes about signing young players, so we'll have to wait and see how they react to seeing an 18-month-old signed by another club. Someone is probably trying to figure out how to have a fetus sign a contract right now.
All photos: VVV-Venlo's official website