I have seen many soccer matches. I often see that players enter the field with children. Why do they enter with the children?
The children are mascots. Each club may employ a different policy about how to become a mascot, but generally includes some of the following criteria;
- Whether you are a season ticket holder/ member
- Between a certain age
- Whether it's your birthday, etc.
Being a mascot gives you an experience which again depends on what team you're a mascot for but could generally include:
- Getting a tour of the stadium
- Getting to meet the players
- Getting given (signed?) merchandise
- Getting to walk out with the players
- Getting to warm up with the players
From searching "How to become match day mascot" on Google, you can see some of the packages each each offers (taken from the first page of results);
- Aston Villa FC — Junior Membership & Match Mascots
- Portsmouth FC — Mascot Packages
- Tottenham Hotspur FC — Become A Mascot
- Cheltenham Town FC — Mascots
I've been a part of this ritual in America. Back in the 2000's at least, little league teams could buy a package of tickets along with the chance to walk onto the field in an attempt to promote soccer in America. As a child we were even given the opportunity before the game to go out on the pitch and play an exhibition game.
It's all about promotion. Before the world cup 2006 in Germany one could participate at a competition of McDonalds. The winners were allowed to walk on the field with the players.