What's the deal with... ceremonial kicks?

051208_KelynKicker_P.jpg

Before each United home game, a ceremonial kick takes place in which a person kicks a ball to United’s team captain as a way to start the match. Before United’s recent home game against Real Salt Lake, something much more special occurred. BehindTheBadge.com caught wind of this great story and went to United sponsorship maven Danielle Osborne for the details.

btb.com: So Danielle, what’s the deal with the ceremonial free kicks?
DO: I always call each game’s presenting sponsor ahead of time to see who they might want to designate to take the ceremonial kick. I mean, no game can start without one of these, right?!
 
btb.com: Of course not. So what happened before the Real Salt Lake game that made this event unusual?
DO: It was getting close to game time and the person designated by Sierra Mist to take the kick hadn’t yet shown up at the stadium. We had to go to a back-up plan…find someone from the crowd.
 
btb.com: And you found…?
DO: Kelyn Bosley. I spotted a young girl in the stands wearing a D.C. United t-shirt. She was so cute and I thought she’d be perfect for the task. After asking if she’d like to take the kick, her dad said, ‘Does it matter what foot she uses?’ It wasn’t long before she was in the center circle delivering a perfect pass to Jaime Moreno.
 
The story doesn’t end there, you see. After following up with Kelyn’s dad to provide some pictures from Kelyn’s moment of glory, some great details came to light. Below is an excerpt from an e-mail sent to Danielle by David Bosley. It made Danielle’s snap decision all the more special.
 
Danielle,
 
Thanks for the pictures, we really appreciate the chance to have Kelyn out there…
 
There is a 'feel good' back-story to your particular choice of my daughter Kelyn as D.C. United's Ceremonial Kicker.  As you might be able to tell from our mailing address, she lives (and has for all her nine years) in the city of Waveland, Mississippi that was Ground Zero for Hurricane Katrina.  Our house received the least damage of any in our town, (only three feet of floodwater), whereas 70-80% of the homes in Waveland where destroyed.  Her school was destroyed, and obviously it affected her life greatly.  She has toughed it out and been great about it and the volunteers from around the nation have been great help to the community, but it still I felt like she might need a change of scenery for a little while.  She and I flew up to the DC area (using frequent flier miles that were soon to expire, I'm frugal, NOT cheap!), and in the midst of our extended weekend visit to the Capitol area saw that D.C. United were in town, and walked up to the ticket stand and bought our tickets fifteen minutes before you first saw us. It was a nice honor for a little girl who might have deserved it (OK I'm partial).   
 
Long story short, in my opinion, you couldn't have picked a better Ceremonial Kicker.
 
Thanks again-
 
David Bosley     
 
Danielle will be back at it next Saturday night, making arrangements for a ceremonial kicker to get the game started. Though a sponsor designee is likely to have the honors, Danielle will be hard pressed to find a better replacement, if needed.
 
050808_KelynKicker.jpg