That moment when you inadvertently bump into the professional athlete you’re dressed as for Halloween is better than any massive haul of candy. That’s exactly what happened to Paul Vernick on Monday.
Vernick, a high school senior in north Jersey, lives in the same town as Sacha Kljestan, the New York Red Bulls star midfielder and United States national team member who is a front-runner for the MVP award in MLS. The teenager, a devoted soccer and Red Bulls fan who is a member of a supporters club, is even an intern with local team Jersey Express and is hoping for a career in sports.
As such, he dressed like Kljestan for Halloween, even down to the midfielder’s moustache, which fittingly has earned him the nickname ‘The Stache’ in MLS circles. But little did he know that while dressed as Kljestan for Halloween, he would in fact meet the man, the myth, the legend.
While out trick or treating, Kljestan spotted Vernick and friend Jaret Gold, a classmate who is also a Red Bulls fan, and shouted out to them about their costumes.
Vernick calls it “five short minutes of awesomeness.”
“As we got right in front of him he bent down to ask his daughter a question. ‘Who do these people look like?’ His daughter responded ‘Daddy!’ – That made everyone laugh, and his wife asked if we wanted a picture,” Vernick tells Metro. “She took a picture on her phone and one of the neighbors took a picture on my phone for me.”
He admits to not doing much trick-or-treating but that his younger sister Rebecca was willing to share some of her spoils with him. Clearly for Vernick, his Halloween meeting with Kljestan while dressed as Kljestan was all treat and no trick.
“Throughout the past two seasons, my family and I have a mere moments of celebrity fandom when seeing him walk around downtown or see you anywhere in town… sometimes I see him in his car when I am walking to and from school,” Vernick said. “All of this made me into an even bigger Sacha Kljestan fan and that’s why I dressed up as him. Although my fake mustache wasn’t anywhere as nice as his.”