Youngest professional soccer player: Baerke van der Meij sets new world record (Video)
VENLO, Holland -- Dutch soccer club VVV-Venlo recently offered 18 month old Baerke van der Meij a 10 year professional soccer contract -which makes him to set the new world record for the Youngest professional soccer player.
Photo: 18-month-old Baerke van der Meij signed up for VVV Venlo Football Club, becoming the World's Youngest Professional Soccer Player. (enlarge photo)
The Guinness world record for the youngest person to referee a competitive football (soccer) match was set by Samuel Keplinger (Germany) who was 9 years 302 days old when he officiated the 0-0 draw between SSV Bobingen and SV Reinhartshausen in Bobingen, Bavaria, Germany.
Guinness World Records also recognized the youngest player to appear in 1,000 games in NBA career: Kobe Bryant (b. 23 August 1978, USA) who was aged 31 years and 177 days, when playing for Los Angeles Lakers against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Baerke's grandfather used to play for the club and his family still lives in the city of Venlo.
The video showcasing the boy's kicking skills has since had more than 1 million views on YouTube and caught the attention of VVV-Venlo, prompting the club to sign the toddler on a 10-year professional contract.
The toddler joined the club's star midfielder, Ken Leemans, during a training session in Venlo's De Koel Stadium before being offered the "symbolic" contract.
"The toddler's favourite position has not yet been determined. However, we can speak of a right-footed player with a very good kicking technique, perseverance and, importantly: football genes via his grandfather," a VVV Venlo press release said.
The club, which Baerke's grandfather also played for, even went so far as to have Baerke attend a press conference and "sign" his contract.