Nine lucky youngsters savor mascot experience with Kane and crew at recent Tottenham match
Walking out on the Wembley turf on a match day is a thrill reserved mostly for FA Cup finalists and international players.
However, nine lucky Chinese youngsters will forever remember the famous Wembley roar after being led, hand in hand, by Tottenham Hotspur players onto the pitch as mascots for the Premier League match against Watford on April 30.
The iconic London venue has been Spurs' home during the rebuilding of their White Hart Lane stadium.
The kids were selected by Spurs sponsors AIA and the China Youth Development Foundation, from five provinces and cities.
The group started preparing for their dream trip two months ago, drawing and writing messages on plain white shirts that were later presented as gifts to Spurs players, including Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris and Heung-min Son.
One of those shirts was autographed by the Spurs players and will be auctioned in China, with proceeds going to the China Youth Football Development Program.
The mascots and their parents also met Spurs players and officials at the club's training center two days before the match.
"As the global principal partner of Spurs, we have been able to create more unparalleled opportunities for our customers, agents and employees' children," said Celia Ling, AIA China CCO.
"The idea is to let them know more about AIA and our 'Healthy Living' program during the activities. It's also about encouraging them to participate in sports actively, helping them feel the charm of sports, developing a healthy lifestyle.
"AIA has been committed to helping people lead a healthy and active life, and to spread the soccer spirit by developing our Youth Football Development Program－especially to bring the joy of sports to children from remote areas."
AIA CMO Stuart Spencer also attended the ceremony.
"AIA began to sponsor Spurs in 2013, and following the expansion of the partnership, we have reached global cooperation, especially with the China Youth Football Development Program," said Spencer.
"At present, Spurs have located two of their elite coaching staff permanently in Asia. The coaches have enabled AIA to expand its community coaching program. We have seen more than 250 separate football-related activations across 15 of AIA's markets.
"Our partnerships enable us to bring to life AIA's brand promise, helping people to live healthier, longer, better lives."
Meanwhile, the linkup is helping Spurs gain a foothold in the Chinese market.
"We are working with AIA on the global coaching, aiming to deliver more programs to get kids doing more sports," said Spurs executive director Donna-Maria Cullen.
"We also had our players cooking with Asian chefs, using really healthy ingredients from Asian markets, and then producing broadcasts on social media around the world to tell people to pick up the healthy habits."