Sofian Massoud is not a fan of the New York Giants, but the quarterback at Cardinal Hayes High School quickly recognized who was strolling toward football practice Oct. 2.
“We definitely recognized him. You know Saquon Barkley,” Sofian told CNY.
The Cardinal Hayes football team was selected to appear in a Campbell’s Chunky Soup commercial with the Giants rookie running back. Barkley, who was born in the Bronx, spent two-and-a-half hours at Hayes to film the commercial and teach the players football skills such as how to make cuts on a run to elude tacklers.
“We didn’t know he was coming. We were in a huddle and he came out of the cab (with a Campbell’s Chunky Soup label on the driver’s door),” said Sofian, who follows the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers.
In 2016, the Giants named Cardinal Hayes coach CJ O’Neil as the Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Year for leading the Cardinals to the Catholic High School Football League of Metropolitan New York AAA League championship.
O’Neil said he stayed in touch with the Giants after winning the honor and was contacted with the offer for Barkley to attend practice.
“They were completely surprised and did not know it was happening. He walked out of the cab and stepped on the field. The kids were awestruck for a few seconds,” the coach said. “In everything he did, he seemed like a young man with great character.”
O’Neil said the commercial will air in a few weeks.
“It was a great experience,” Sofian said. “He’s a really cool guy and gave us a lot of good pointers. I’ll definitely remember the day.”