German Football Academy
Where Children Turn Into World Champions
After a career of 30 years actively playing football in Europe, and another 20 years following my profession as a Project Engineer and General Manager in the automotive, logistics and oil & gas industries in Asia, I decided to start up a model of Football Academy/Club following our German Philosophy, our values, traditions and our way of life.
An additional trigger was the fact that within the last 15 years my own four kids went into this fantastic game, encouraging me to learn more about football youth development in Singapore.
For us in Germany, whether you call it football or soccer it's a game we love, and it can be played in almost any kind of environment and at any age; doesn't matter you are six or sixty years old.
Football is a game around which we build communities, either as a registered club or society, or just with a bunch of friends as an interest group at school, work, or even in a pub. The most important thing, regardless of age, sex, religion or financial status.
This passion and love of the game you find all over the globe and it's fantastic to see but I like to say, “most probably, we in Germany get it already with the mother's milk”.
Sport in Germany in general has his own lifestyle. Almost 30 million Germans are organised in sports clubs and another 10 million pursue sporting activities individuality. With more than six million official members, the German Football Association DFB (Deutscher Fussball Bund) is the largest sports organisation worldwide.
Beside our wins in the FIFA World Cup in 1954, 1974, 1990, and 2014 (reflected in the four stars in our logo), we have also won three times the UEFA European Football Championship in 1972, 1980, and 1996.
Some of our most successful and renowned footballers are Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Mueller, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Juergen Klinsmann, Matthias Sammer, Lothar Matthaeus, Michael Ballack, Oliver Kahn, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller and Bastian Schweinsteiger, to name only a few.
Having said all that, education is also a significant and important cluster in our system and we can't develop any of these sportsmen and athletes without focusing and emphasising on the academic side as well.
This will therefore become an essential part of our German Football Academy (GeFA) here in Singapore and we follow a model and philosophy which can then be easily adopted and implemented by others as well.
Germany is a modern, advanced society, shaped by a plurality of lifestyles and regional identities. ①
Our Country has established a high level of gender quality, promotes disability rights, and has an education system which is free and available to anybody.
In the 21st century Germany has been an important country for the development of contemporary analytic philosophy in continental Europe, along with France, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries.②
During the last decade of the 20th century, Germany changed its attitude towards immigrants. Until the mid-1990s the opinion was widespread that Germany is not a country of immigration, even though about 20% of the population were of non-German origin. Today the government and a majority of German society acknowledges that immigrants from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds are part of German society and that controlled immigration should be initiated based on qualification standards.③
With the current challenge of integration of refugees from middle east countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan into German society we believe that especially Singapore is a perfect country to demonstrate integration and racial harmony at the highest level.
This perfect example and the experiences of our academy children here in Singapore can help and benefit if we are able to share our experience. Therefore we have created another strong pillar in our philosophy: that of building communities with our children and children in Germany in groups of the same age.
Commitment to our community is one of the features that characterises today’s world. We aim to live more consciously and participate in society and its development. Activities in the social and environmental fields have therefore become increasingly important.
Sports activities ranging from the local to the national and international level, embracing leisure as well as competitive sport, can support the integration of migrants, and the inclusion and participation in society of people belonging to minorities. In other words, engaging and participating in sporting events can be an ideal platform to foster inclusion, acceptance of diversity and mutual respect while combating racism, discrimination and exclusion.
GeFA is supporting all kind of activities to support the awareness of racism, discrimination and exclusion in sport, focusing on different sports and levels of practice. GeFA will take a lead in establishing effective monitoring systems, launching awareness-raising campaigns, implementing diversity management programmes, critically assessing legal and administrative barriers to equal participation in sport, and encouraging athletes, players, officials and fans to take a public stance against racism and related intolerances.
We have a Guide of Promising Practices, Initiatives and Activities providing examples of successful action in the field that are transferable, in some cases inexpensive and can give inspiration to those who engage in the activities and those who support, organise and manage them.
In Singapore today, I can say, as a professional footballer in a multi-cultural country with people of many different religious faiths, nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, that we are proud to be able to play sport in an environment which can showcase the capacity of human beings to live together.
GeFA's core values are Fairness, Integrity, Respect, Equity.
• Education - using soccer to inspire children and youth to learn
• Integration - inclusion of people with disabilities and the fight against racism
• Health - convey joy of movement and generate enthusiasm for a more active life
• Environment - effective environmental management and awareness of climate protection
We want to make a difference – motivating change. Consequently GeFA promotes movement towards one another – and getting to know one another. That is what we want to do, together with all people who engage with us and enjoy the philosophy of GeFA.
① German Mission to the United States, retrieved 16.10.2010
② Searle, John (1987) The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy “Introduction” Wiley-Blackwell.
③ Heckmann, Friedrich (2003). The Integration of Immigrants in European Societies: national differences and trends of convergence (Warning Germany Has No Humor). Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius. pp. 51 ff. ISBN 978-3-8282-0181-1. Retrieved 28 October 2010.