Eleven children from around the world, including Sonu and Sharik from India, capped a once-in-a-lifetime experience Saturday by participating as Chevrolet mascots in Manchester United's match vs. Liverpool at Old Trafford stadium as part of Chevrolet’s Beautiful Possibilities Program.
With millions of fans watching around the world, upon entering the pitch each Manchester United first team player wore a match shirt with the name of his mascot on the back. Moments before the match began, in a show of admiration and in line with football tradition the players removed the shirts and presented them to the mascots.
Sonu, 14, and Sharik, 13, were joined by children from Brazil, China, Thailand and the United States – all 8 to 14 years old. Sonu, who accompanied Manchester United’s Matteo Darmian, and Sharik, who accompanied Memphis Depay, were selected and brought to Manchester by Chevrolet because they embody the spirit of play. In the days leading up to the match, the children met Manchester United players and legends, attended Manchester United Soccer School and toured Old Trafford, among other activities.
“We believe that football and play can change lives and create beautiful possibilities,” said Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer, Global Chevrolet. “What we witnessed today at Old Trafford was something the children and their families and friends never had thought possible. You need to look no further than the mascots’ faces when they walked onto the pitch.”
“Making a positive impact on people’s lives around the world through this program and great sport never gets old,” Mahoney added.
As part of its Beautiful Possibilities Program, Chevrolet enables children greater participation in football by working with local nonprofit organizations to revitalize and transform community pitches in Brazil, India, Thailand and other countries. In May, Chevrolet revitalized the sport ground at the Rebecca Belilious English Institution in Tikiapara for Slum Soccer, an organization that uses football to transcend race, religion, language and gender to bring about a change in the lives of street dwellers.
During the revitalization project, Chevrolet identified Sonu and Sharik to participate as mascots. It’s the second consecutive year Chevrolet has brought children from around the world to Manchester to participate as mascots – an experience the brand plans to continue for years to come.
“Our players were proud to walk onto the pitch with the children wearing their names on the back of their shirts, and as a Club we look forward to continuing to be part of this unique tradition for our fans created by Chevrolet,” Manchester United Group Managing Director, Richard Arnold said.
In addition to its Beautiful Possibilities Program, since 2012 Chevrolet has brought play to an estimated 45 million youth in underprivileged communities in more than 90 countries worldwide by distributing more than 1.5 million ultra-durable footballs from One World Play Project. Chevrolet, the official sponsor of One World Play Project, has committed to distributing 2 million One World Futbols, which the mascots used on penalty kicks at halftime during Saturday’s match.