Will lining up with World Cup greats

Lucky Will Richardson, 10, gets a hug from his mother, Victoria, after winning the trip to the scoccer World Cup final in Brazil. Photo / Dean Purcell
Lucky Will Richardson, 10, gets a hug from his mother, Victoria, after winning the trip to the scoccer World Cup final in Brazil. Photo / Dean Purcell

Ten-year-old Will Richardson will have a starring role in football's World Cup final in July.

It may be a little early for him to show off his skills on the field, but he will be right alongside a player who will.

The St Heliers boy was the envy of all his teammates at his weekly Eastern Suburbs training session at Liston Park in Ellerslie yesterday when he received a surprise visit from All White midfielders Tim Payne, 20, and Matt Ridenton, 18.

They told the soccer fanatic he had won a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to walk a player on to the pitch at the final of the Fifa World Cup.

He will join 21 other children from around the world.

With his mother, Victoria, he will fly to Galeao International Airport and spend four nights in Rio, with accommodation, meals and group activities included.

"This is a dream come true for Will," Mrs Richardson said.

"He lives and breathes football and is so excited about meeting an international pro-footballer and walking them on to the pitch. This will be an experience he will never forget; nor will I."

Will won the prize by completing football challenges at a McDonald's Skills Zone Day event this month.

The competition was open to 6-10-year-olds and attracted more than 1000 entries.

NZ Football chief executive Andy Martin said: "Congratulations to Will for winning this amazing prize. We'd like to thank all the children who took part in the Skills Zone Day events and entered the competition. It was great to see such enthusiasm from so many young football fans."

Three Skills Zone Day events were held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Children who were unable to get to one were able to enter online by uploading a video of their skills.

- NZ Herald

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