Esha Sandhu scored a memorable victory when she wrote to her favourite soccer team earlier this year.
Esha, 8, is an avid soccer player — she currently plays for the Southdale Lakers U-9 Girls — and a passionate supporter of the German national team.
In April, with the help of her dad, Jesse, she wrote a letter to the team to wish the players luck for the then-upcoming Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine. In the letter, she wrote that her favourite player was striker Lukas Podolski.
Esha also enclosed a copy of her concept of a future German soccer jersey — a pastel drawing incorporating German national flag’s colours of black, red and yellow in a striped design which she hopes they will use one day.
After mailing the letter, the Shamrock School student eagerly awaited a response. Weeks passed, however, and Esha kept wondering why she hadn’t heard back. Jesse tried to downplay her concerns, explaining the team was busy preparing for the tournament.
Almost three months later, a large brown envelope arrived. It included a thank you card, a big poster of the German squad, a green pennant depicting the team’s previous World Cup and Euro wins, two colour stickers and — drumroll, please — an autographed picture of Podolski.
"I never lost hope," Esha said, explaining her love of the German team comes from both her dad and a Grade 3 school project focusing on the nation.
"I knew they would write back and I knew they were busy with the tournament. The day the envelope arrived I just opened it and I was surprised, like amazed, and I felt so happy, as I had waited that long for it to come," she said.
The Sage Creek resident said her friends and teammates think it’s "a pretty cool story" and if the team’s kit manufacturers ever take on board her design she’ll be blown away.
"If it’s used, I’ll be speechless. We’ll find out in two years (at the 2014 World Cup), I guess," she said.
"I wanted my design to be more colourful, because white is technically not a colour."
Esha’s mom, Bubbley, said this has been a positive experience for her soccer-loving daughter.
"In this day and age, not many people write letters, now there’s social media," Bubbley said. "And being a big team, it’s nice for them to acknowledge her from so far away and show an investment in their fans."
"This will encourage her to write to teams in the future. Letters and postcards can be more descriptive. It’s also been a great way for her and her dad to connect," she added.
Manitoba Soccer Association’s executive director Hector Vergara said the team’s gesture is "not very common in this day and age."
"It was awesome to see that a team like the German national team would take the time to put a package together and send it to her," said Vergara, who lives in Whyte Ridge.