The Official Mascot for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 was launched today at Auckland’s Santa Parade – marking six months until the biggest celebration of global football hits New Zealand.
The mascot, a black sheep with attitude named Wooliam, proved a hit with kids and adults as he gambolled along the route before mingling with the guests at Santa’s post-parade party.
After his appearance in Auckland he was whisked down to Wellington where he performed with his hip-hop backing dancers during the half-time break in the Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City game.
Dave Beeche, CEO of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) said he had been delighted with the enthusiastic reception Wooliam had received. “We are very fond of Wooliam and feel that he embodies the passion, colour and excitement that are synonymous with this tournament. It was very satisfying to see the crowds enjoying him as much as we do.
“We appreciate that around the globe New Zealand is associated with sheep so we thought why not embrace that but add an extra twist by making him the coolest black sheep ever, a young Kiwi with cheek and attitude.”
FIFA Marketing Director Thierry Weil said: “Wooliam is a great character who embodies New Zealand and its people. It will be very nice to see how he will become the face of the tournament, and how he will be interacting with fans of all ages during the upcoming months. A mascot is a fantastic tool to present the values and qualities of a country to the world.”
This tournament is a real homecoming for Wooliam. After travelling the globe and developing an intense passion for the beautiful game, the prodigal son decided to return to offer his services to the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015, deciding that his footballing prowess might be better suited to a role as tournament Mascot.
Embraced by the Local Organising Committee, Wooliam becomes the face of the tournament and will be busy making public appearances at schools, shopping malls and other major functions from now until the end of the tournament next June.