Tri-State youth soccer players accompany Messi, Inter Miami players onto field

One of the players even got a hug from Messi.
Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 5:20 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Three Villa Madonna Academy students got the opportunity of a lifetime on Wednesday as they were chosen to accompany Inter Miami players onto the TQL Stadium pitch.

For seven-year-old Christopher Peterman, he got to walk out with his idol, global superstar Lionel Messi.

Peterman, like his idol Messi, is a forward and while he admits he was a bit too nervous to talk to him, he thinks while the two held hands Wednesday Messi may have shared some of his talent.

In fact, the seven-year-old says he thinks Messi gave him a new specific talent.

“Be as good as him at dribbling,” Peterman says.

Fellow seven-year-old Arlington Joshua had the chance to hold hands and walk out with goalkeeper Drake Callender. He describes the moment in two words: “Really cool.”

Joshua is a forward for his youth soccer team and says it was cool to hang out with a professional goalie.

When asked if he plans on taking any moves from Callender he responded: “Nah no.”

For the nine-year-old striker Jacob Trevor, he walked out with defenseman Sergio Busquets.

“It was really cool,” Trevor said about the experience. “Really fun.”

FC Cincinnati vs. Inter Miami was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for each kid, but for Trevor, it was more than that.

At the end of the month, Trevor will be celebrating his eight-year adoption anniversary.

Typically, his parents take him out every year. This year, with Trevor meeting Busquets, the family gathered at TQL and celebrated the once-in-a-lifetime feat while also celebrating his adoption anniversary.

To make the night even more memorable, he got a hug from Messi.

The three youth soccer players play for Kings Hammer Soccer Club, which has teamed up with FC Cincinnati and Nike, and the partnership allowed for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It was a random selection,” explained Club National Director of Marketing Matt Shisler. “We had over 500 players apply to take part. We literally drew from a hat, and they were lucky enough to be drawn.”

The team at Kings Hammer says that with the arrival of FC Cincinnati in 2015, they’ve helped grow the game of soccer in the Queen City.

With Messi gracing the turf at TQL, Kings Hammer thinks soccer is the next big thing in town.

“To have the world’s best player come to your neighborhood to your stadium, I think it just could inspire a new wave of future stars,” said Shisler.

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