UNIONDALE, N.Y. (PIX11) — Remember when you were young and had dreams of becoming, perhaps, a world-famous soccer star?
Hundreds of Long Island children met the stars of their soccer dreams at the Mitchell Athletic Complex on Saturday.
The young soccer players were dancing for joy and screaming with delight at the thought of meeting two-time Olympic gold medal winner Carli Lloyd and another of soccer’s biggest superstars, David Beckham, and getting advice from them on how to achieve their dreams.
“What I learned on the soccer field,” Carli Lloyd told her young audience. ”The life skills, how to work hard, how to work within a team and be coachable — all those life lessons I learned right here on the soccer field.”
And then David Beckham chimed in.
“I was lucky I got to play for Manchester and I was lucky I got to play for England,” Beckham told the children. “And the only way I got to play for them was because I worked so hard when I was your age.”
These 200 children, ages 8 through 12, from soccer clubs across Long Island, got tips from the greats about toe taps and foundations, and so much more — all part of Sands Care and the Sands Youth Empowerment Initiative from Las Vegas Sands.
“This is a great event to give these kids the chance to meet some incredible talent,” Nino Maneri, a proud soccer dad, told PIX11 News:
Kaylee McGuinness, 9, wanted to ask the soccer superstars, “What’s it like to be a professional soccer player?”
Because, as she told PIX11 News, that is her dream.
“It’s really a chance to give these kids the chance to meet people they otherwise might not get a chance to meet,” Ron Reese, senior vice president of global communications for Las Vegas Sands, told PIX11 News.
But the biggest thrill may be getting a signed picture, ball or jersey to remember this day and the advice they received.
“It’s really great,” Gabriella Penn, 12, told PIX11 News. “No really famous soccer players ever come to Long Island, so it’s really great.”
Her mom, Juliette, added, “For us, as parents, to see them get this excited, it really means a lot.”
And 9-year-old Owen Moylan learned a lot about what it takes to become David Beckham:
“Skill, practice and listen to your coaches,” Beckham said.