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Ireland will always be our home, says Claudine as big-hearted Robbie coaches Olympics team

They may be raising their son in the States, but Claudine Keane has vowed that little Robert is Irish through and through.

The 31-year-old has been married to soccer legend Robbie Keane since 2008, and little Robert was born in 2009.

His model mum told the Herald that despite living and going to school in America, he is yet to pick up on the accent - but he has picked up some of their colloquial sayings.

"He has got an Irish accent, but there are American words he'll say like candy or trash can," Claudine said.

"When he'd say trash can, I'd go 'Oh, the bin'. But I also know that to be in school and to be around his friends, they won't understand him, they don't know what that is."

Robbie met Claudine when she was 18 and studying economics and finance at UCD. The couple moved to Los Angeles when 34-year-old Robbie signed for the LA Galaxy soccer team. He is Ireland's record international goal scorer.

Despite the sunshine and warm temperatures of Los Angeles, Claudine said Ireland will always be home - a sentiment the couple's young son shares.

"I still think he thinks that Ireland is home, because he is very close to both our families, both of our parents, my brother and everything," she said. "So he loves getting back to see them."

The couple will be home until the end of January, and this week they were named as ambassadors for Special Olympics Ireland, leading the Sponsor an Athlete campaign.

The kind-hearted pair took some time out yesterday as Robbie took to the field to train the Irish squad that will travel to the Games.

The lads turned out at Crumlin United's grounds to be put through their paces by the star striker as Claudine looked on. She said her family will cheer on Team Ireland's 88 athletes when they participate in next summer's Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

"We are going to get as involved as we are allowed to. It is something that we are very passionate about. Of course, we are in LA and we know the set-up over there," she said.

"Rob and I are both so into sport. We watched the 2003 Special Olympics when it was in Ireland and we were moved and absolutely gobsmacked by how people in Ireland embraced it so much.

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"We always wanted to get involved in something that we could appreciate, and Rob and I are 100pc behind it."

The organisation need to raise €440,000 to send the Irish team to the Games.

Despite vowing that Dublin will always be home, Claudine said she doubts the family will return here permanently any time soon.

"We bought a house last year in Ireland, and it will always be a base. We will always come back home and be with family and friends," she said.

hnews@herald.ie


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