Above: He’s just 10 years old, but thanks to a very special coach, Marcus Devlin will be making an appearance at the World Cup. John Sexsmith explains.
EDMONTON – Ten-year-old Marcus Devlin is one of five lucky Canadian kids who will soon be gracing the field at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“I’m really, really, really, really, really excited for this,” the Grade 4 said. “It’ll be, basically, the best time of my life.”
Devlin, who plays for the Edmonton Scottish Under 10 team, will get to escort a starting player onto the World Cup field before a July 4th quarter-final match.
It’s all thanks to Adam Walker who coached the youngster’s Confederation Hockey team, which was part of McDonald’s Atomic Hockey program.
When the season concluded, coaches were asked to submit an essay on a player they felt went above and beyond. The prize: a trip to the World Cup.
Despite having an “incredible” team, Walker says the first player who came to mind was Devlin.
“His attitude and energy level are infectious — 110% effort all the time. Never give up, never quit attitude; he’s one of those kids that you want ten of them on your team if you could.”
Walker’s entry won. Devlin’s father — a former professional soccer player turned coach — couldn’t be more excited for his son. But he’s quick to give credit where it’s due.
“You talk about coaches out there that are volunteers and put all their time in …You don’t hear about where they go the extra mile for kids that aren’t even their own,” he said.
He and his son will be leaving on Canada Day to Brazil, where the 10-year-old will also get a chance to do some sightseeing, and play a soccer game at a stadium with kids from around the world.
As for his task of escorting a player onto the field in front of 80,000 fans in Rio de Janeiro’s main stadium, and billions more watching around the world, Devlin doesn’t seem too nervous.
He’s already had practice walking out onto the field with David Beckham and stepping out on the ice with some of his favourite Oilers. The World Cup, though, will be on a whole other level.
“It will be unbelievable,” Devlin said.
And not just for him.
“This, for me, is probably going to go down in the books,” said his coach. “You know, Marcus is never going to forget this, but I’m not going to forget this either.”
With files from John Sexsmith, Global News
© Shaw Media, 2014