Three dads-to-be made trips back home from Russia during this year’s World Cup to welcome a child to their family, with the blessing of coaches and teammates.
Last Tuesday, Fabian Delph missed England’s match against Colombia in the round of 16 while awaiting the birth of his third child.
“Some things in life are more important than football,” England coach Gareth Southgate said last Monday. “His focus needs to be with his family at this time.”
Southgate echoed a view of parenting that runs through the World Cup.
Switzerland forward Breel Embolo faced Sweden last Tuesday after jetting home within hours of a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica the previous week.
The 21-year-old saw his daughter born and described it as “the most beautiful 24 hours” of his life.
Denmark’s Jonas Knudsen started the family-friendly trend this tournament when his fellow players sent Knudsen home in private jet to be with his wife who was expecting to deliver their daughter who actually wasn’t due until after the tournament, but the team wanted him to see her right away.
“It’s a bit of perspective in life,” Southgate said. “Everybody says you only get one chance to be in a World Cup but also there’s only one day in your life where your children are born.”
In soccer, players fulfill their family duties at the discretion of team leaders and it is a great thing!