Thursday 04 July 2019, 12:00

Panini prompts Kaidan to fall in love with Lionesses

  • Panini stickers got a six-year-old to fall in love with women’s football

  • He’s got his school-mates into France 2019

  • England-USA was the first match Kaidan attended

It started with the purchase of a sticker album, and ended with watching his heroines in Lyon in a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ semi-final.

For six-year-old Kaidan Rowdon, from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, England, France 2019 has left him obsessed with the Lionesses and the women’s game – all thanks to his mother purchasing the tournament’s official Panini Sticker Album.

Soon, Kaidan would know the names Nikita Parris, Karen Bardsley and Fran Kirby, and would be glued to his TV, explaining to his neighbours who each player was. Not content with just enjoying the game, Kaidan would also take his Panini Sticker Album into school, talk about the England players to his friends, with some of them going to their parents and asking for their own collection of stickers.

Overwhelmed by their son’s interest in the game, parents Adam and Wendy sought to get Kaidan to his first game, which would be the semi-final between England and USA.

“Kaidan doesn’t see men’s and women’s football, he just sees football as football, he loves it,” explained dad Adam. “That’s the way it should be, shouldn’t it?”

The hope is that the Women’s World Cup will inspire the next generation of young girls to take up the game and to empower women. But there is a male audience too and Kaidan, at just six, is just one of many who are taking an interest and being inspired by world-class female athletes at a major tournament.

“I really enjoyed the game between England and USA, it was so loud with so many people, but I am sad we didn’t win,” he said following the Americans’ pulsating 2-1 victory. “I really like women’s football and I can’t wait to go to my next game, which will be England v Germany at Wembley.”

Kaidan plays football at school with boys and girls, and has promised to continue encouraging his friends to follow women’s football. The entertainment they continue to see at this Women’s World Cup and, of course, their love of Panini stickers will maintain that interest.