VVV Venlo go ga-ga for toy-box prodigy
Eredivisie side VVV Venlo have moved quickly to sign up 18-month-old YouTube sensation Baerke van der Meij, who has become an internet hit after his father posted videos of him kicking balls into a toy chest.
Van der Meij, 1, has been signed up by his local side on a symbolic ten-year professional contract but despite the club currently battling against relegation from Dutch football's top tier, it's not thought he will be thrown into the action any time soon.
Under the watchful eye of father Jorg, the toddler put pen to paper on his deal at the club's De Koel Venlo stadium and showed off his skills alongside first-team player Ken Leemans .
Little Baerke, whose impressive ability to kick a ball into his toy chest three times in a row has been viewed over 900,000 times on YouTube, celebrated his scribbled signature with a glass of orange juice.
Baerke's grandfather, Jan van der Meij was a midfielder for VVV-Venlo from 1958-60 and 1964-65 and the club are hopeful the youngster can follow in his footsteps.
A statement on the club's official website read: "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."
"VVV-Venlo wish Baerke every success for a great football career!"