Wednesday, July 8, 2009
One of the true living legends of the game was a special guest visitor to Dick's Sporting Goods Park yesterday afternoon.
Former France National Team midfielder Zinedine Zidane was a surprise special guest at the adidas ESP invitation-only camp, currently underway at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. adidas ESP brings together the top 100 young soccer players in the country each year to DSG Park for instruction, games and events.
After conducting a private clinic with participants from the tournament on the Rapids' official training pitch, Zidane moved into the stadium, where he filmed an interview with ESPN on the DSG Park concourse with the stadium scoreboard looming behind him.
Rapids defender Julien Baudet, who is fluent in both English and French, was on hand to help out as a translator and spent several minutes with Zidane conversing privately in their native tongue following the ESPN interview.
Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush presented Zidane with a commemorative Rapids jersey emblazoned with his name in a great photo opportunity that will be sure to launch several signing rumours.
Following that, just when it looked like Zizou was done at the Park, the adidas ESP All-Star game began on the stadium pitch. The top 36 of the 100 youth players who were selected to participate in the ESP all-star game took to the field only to find out to their astonishment that they had a special guest player join them as Zidane laced up his boots, came down the DSG Park center staircase and joined the teams on the field, playing one half each for both the East and West teams.
As you can imagine, the forward players on both teams benefitted from Zidane's pinpoint no-look passes and through balls that drew gasps from the crowd.
In attendance in the stands were youth soccer players and their families that are part of the Rapids adidas Alliance (the Colorado Storm, Pride and Boulder County Force youth soccer clubs), who all received exclusive invitations to attend this private event, and got to watch the game inside the stadium and meet Zidane as well in a private autograph session.
In the end it was a whirlwind tour of the Rapids' facilities for Zizou, and in his wake he left hundreds of incredulous youth players and their families, both from the ESP tournament and the Rapids adidas Alliance, all of whom will surely be telling the story of how they got to meet, play against, and take photos with one of the truly greatest ever players in the game.
Posted by Rapids Front Office at 12:31 PM