TOPICS: Wet look official hairstyle for soccer juniors, to keep neat like Messi
CLEAN RUNNING: Good grooming on the field is part of the skill set being taught to soccer junior players. JUNIOR sport is full of coaches who want their players to be a cut above, but some parents are scratching their heads over an email from a soccer official telling nine-year-olds to use ‘‘wet look’’ hair gel or find themselves benched.
The hair gel edict was one of several handed down to players in the under-10 representative program, who were told to ‘‘have pristine personal appearance’’.
‘‘Spotlessly clean hair not only combed but gelled (wet look) and well off their face (even those with short hair),’’ the email specified.
Helpfully, photos of European club stars Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and James Rodríguez were attached. Other requirements were spotlessly clean teeth, faces and hands, and shaking the coach’s hand on arrival.
STYLING UP: Gareth Bale
Players looking ‘‘below expectations’’ were warned they ‘‘may likely spend more time on the bench than others’’.
TIDY LOCKS: Lionel Messi is not known for using hair product, but always looks neat regardless.
Topics contacted the presumably dapper official, who insisted his email was ‘‘banter’’.
‘‘It’s part of a light-hearted relationship with some of the kids at training,’’ he said.
GORGEOUS: Christiano Ronaldo, whose hair is never Messi either.
‘‘We are a club that likes to set standards of personal appearance and things like that, but it’s just a nothing story.’’
But while some parents might have welcomed the message, or taken it as a joke, others were combing it for traces of humour.
‘‘I thought it was just bizarre,’’ said one father.
‘‘I’m not going to put wet gel in my son’s hair. It’s just not appropriate; it’s a personal preference, it’s nothing to do with sport.’’
He said he was ‘‘a bit worried’’ about his son showing up sans gel, while another dad quipped the next must-have would be ‘‘a bowtie’’.
While we’re confident all parties will sort out the sticky issue, Topics is left asking: what is it with soccer players and hair gel? Does it get in their eyes? Did Pele use it?
PRODUCT: Hair gel has been listed as an approved grooming aid for junior soccer players.
And is junior sport, once the province of all shapes and sizes and kids who’d chase butterflies or kick the wrong way, getting too serious?
‘‘THEY weren’t all duds, mate,’’ says Kevin Saddler of Carrington.
He’s referring to the American All Stars rugby league squad of 1953 (Topics, October 20), and specifically the late Gary Kerkorian.
This bloke so impressed on the tour of Australia and New Zealand that, as Kevin remembers it, he was signed for a stint with South Sydney. No mean feat back then.
Kevin, who travelled from Mackay to watch the tourists play a side in Townsville, remembers Kerkorian making his mark from the outset.
The Guardian’s Gavin Willacy travelled to San Francisco last year to track down squad members, and had some success. It turns out Gary Kerkorian was one of six All Stars who attended Stanford University.
‘‘Kerkorian kicked nine goals from nine in a narrow defeat to Brisbane at the Gabba and five years later became the only rugby league player to win the NFL, as back-up quarterback with Baltimore Colts,’’ writes Willacy.
Not all duds, indeed.
Email Tim [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m.au or tweet @TimConnell or phone 4979 5944