We're Not the Only Ones Crazy Enough to Name Our Kids After Our Coach

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Andrei Arshavin: The man that scored the goal that made Russians name their babies after a Dutchman

Over the weekend, I finished reading Marc Bennett's excellent Football Dynamo: Modern Russia and the People's Game, about soccer in post-Soviet Russia. One passage towards the end of the book reminded me of how a couple named their child "Saban" shortly after after he came on board to coach our beloved Tide (not to mention the literally hundreds of people named after Coach Bryant.) Here's the passage:

In southwest Siberia, shortly after Arshavin had slipped home the team's third goal, a baby was born in the small town of Bolotnoe. The parents, overcome with footballing emotion, decided their was only one way they could thank Hiddink enough, and the world said hello to Guus Vyacheslavovich Khmyelev.

Dutchman Guus Hiddink was coach of the Russian national team at the time. Russia was caught up in a wave of euphoria after pounding the Dutch 3-1 in the 2008 European Championships. The Russians had frequently underperformed in big tournaments and Hiddink had them playing at an extremely high level. Good to know we aren't the only ones out there that love our football coaches enough to name our children after them.

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Guus Hiddink: the inspiration for Guus Vyacheslavovich Khmyelev

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