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A dream come true for young footballer

Unforgettable day: Van Beelen walked with New York City ahead of their game against Toronto at Yankee Stadium

A young Bermudian football player living in New York had a dream come true when he won the chance to walk out with New York City at Yankee Stadium.

Willem van Beelen, 8, was one of several youngsters who entered the pitch with the New York City players, including his hero Frank Lampard, ahead of their game against Toronto last week.

New York City, who are jointly owned by Manchester City and the New York Yankees, won 2-0 with goals from Lampard and Patrick Mullins.

Van Beelen plays for the Downtown United Soccer Club’s academy, who are affiliated with Manchester City and New York City’s youth programmes. He scored seven goals last the weekend in his first away game on Staten Island.

“Willem has been playing football since he could walk and he loves coming home to Bermuda where he can play on grass,” said his father Kees.

“He has also taken a keen interest in sailing, which I am very happy about”.

Kees is portfolio manager with UBS Financial Services and Willem’s mother Christina is a partner in a hedge fund based in the city.

Willem’s six-year-old brother Lucian also plays for Downtown United.

“Because of our affiliation with Manchester City, a lot of people know who Shaun Goater is, but they often do not know that he is a Bermudian,” Kees added.

“Many of the English parents here of course remember Clyde Best. People are surprised at the calibre of players that a small country like ours has been able to produce. This is a great source of pride for us as a family.”