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Integration Through Recreation: The Role of Youth Soccer in Multicultural Berlin

Berlin, Lichterfelde, June 29th, 2008: When we entered the Stadium of Lichterfelde in south Berlin on this bright Sunday morning, we were eager to learn. What arouses such interest from so many people, motivating them to meet here, in this remote area of Berlin? What is so special about a soccer tournament? One could say that after all, it’s just a game! We quickly learn that it is not. On this morning, kids with different ethnic backgrounds met on two soccer pitches for the first “Kids-Integration-EuroCup” in Berlin’s history. What followed left a deep impression on us and led us to believe that soccer can actually produce much more than just sweat and dirty laundry. As we know now, this is especially true in a city like Berlin.

Introduction: The Many Faces of Berlin

Berlin, Germany has become one of the most popular destinations for migration within Europe during the last half of a century. Previous to this time, Germany was regarded primarily as a country of emigration. Yet with a high demand for guest workers and favorable policies for asylum seekers, Germany has expanded its image within the European Union to now include a much more multicultural composition. German policies have begun to tackle issues surrounding integration and immigration in all facets of society, ranging from mainstream media to highly debated political legislation.  Specific policy developments, such as the “asylum compromise” of 1993, which amended the German constitution to allow for limitations on access to political asylum, the new Nationality Act, which came into effect in January 2000, and the introduction in 2000 of a system aimed specifically at recruiting IT professionals, have all impacted the role of integration within contemporary society. Furthermore, the creation of an annual integration summit, first hosted in 2006, has served as an attempt on behalf of politicians and local representatives to create a forum for dialogue surrounding these issues. Other political developments surrounding integration in Germany include the Immigration Act of 2005 (revised in 2007) and the Standing Islam Conference, first hosted by State Secretary Schauble in 2006 and aimed at furthering the dialogue between the state and its Muslim minority. 

Despite the increased attention surrounding this topic, relatively few concrete statistics exist to shed light on the actual magnitude and composition of the immigrant population that currently exists within Germany. Official demographic statistics, while regularly collected, are of limited value as they fail to differentiate amongst the varying ethnic backgrounds of those identified as “foreigners” within the nation. According to the language used in the collection of these official statistics, a “foreigner” is broadly identified as someone without German citizenship. Such a system of classification is detrimental to understanding the ethnic constituency of this population, as this does not encompass children born to those who immigrated to Germany, those who have become naturalized during their time in the country, or those who entered the country as recognized Germans (Spätaussiedler). 

Due to the innate flaws of such an over-simplified identification system, an increasing tendency has arisen in Germany to refer to this immigrant population as “persons with a migration background.” Such phrasing allows for the recognition that citizenship is an inadequate and flawed indicator of the true immigrant population. The categorization of peoples with a migrant background allows for both foreign and German citizens to be identified as individuals who have immigrated into the country. This label additionally includes foreigners born abroad, foreigners born in Germany, ethnic German repatriates (Spätaussiedler), and naturalized citizens who have themselves immigrated, as well as their children who have no personal or direct immigration experience. The broadening of such a definition further identifies people who are second and third-generation descendents of immigrants in addition to those who have personally immigrated and possess a migrant background. 

The identification and recognition of a migrant population takes on an especially integral role within the nation’s capital of Berlin. The current estimated total population of Berlin is approximately 3.3 million inhabitants; of these, 500,000 are identified as immigrants. Such a significant immigrant population renders Berlin a multicultural metropolis consisting of individuals from various ethnic backgrounds. The largest immigrant group within Berlin is Islamic Turks, who live mostly in the districts of Kreuzberg, Neukölln, and Wedding. As opposed to many other European cities that are home to a large Islamic population, Berlin has almost never had any large problems with its Muslim minority. The Turks have occasionally been the victims of brutal neo-Nazi attacks, and likewise Germans have also found themselves victims of Turkish youth assaults. Such incidents, while still troubling, are an exception to the generally peaceful co-existence of parallel Turk and German societies within several districts of Berlin. 

Attempts at Integration

The perception of the relatively successful integration of this Muslim minority into Berlin’s society is facilitated through several government initiatives. Integration, within the scope of this paper, can be best understood as an intermixing of people or groups that have previously been segregated. The German government tried to facilitate such integration through first supporting residential desegregation of the Turkish community to allow for their participation and visibility within central Berlin. Of even greater significance is the government’s inclination towards grassroots organizations in hopes of empowering different ethnic groups through giving them a stake in the civil society of Berlin. Public forums, such as the Kreuzberg Democracy Project, organize community round-table discussions at which all ethnic groups are encouraged to voice their issues and opinions. Through allowing for such dialogues to take place, such projects hope to purge ethnic prejudices and establish a sense of community and belongingness for the various ethnic and religious groups that co-habituate within Berlin. The federal government has also instituted several initiatives in order to formally attempt to more fully integrate the immigrant population throughout the country. The creation of a language integration course, consisting of 600 free hours of German language instruction and an orientation course of 30 hours of instruction on German history, law, politics, and society has attempted to bridge the linguistic divide for those who live in Germany but cannot speak its official language. 

Going beyond the traditional components of language and community integration, Germany has further attempted to unite its youth population through a shared love of sport and recreation. Through financial support from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the German Sports Association has begun to use private soccer clubs as a means of integrating youth minority populations. In addition to the clubs’ allotted financial support from the government, various unaffiliated or independent clubs and organizations have further attempted to use sport as a universal point of departure to bring youth of various ethnic backgrounds together over a shared goal and objective. Yet despite efforts to change the perceptions that German youth hold towards peers of migrant backgrounds, stereotypes and bias still exist and are perpetuated within preceding generations. 

Soccer, while presently being used as a tool for teaching youth non-discriminatory schemas for assimilating with their peers, has unfortunately also served as a venue for the expulsion of racist sentiments. In March of 2006, the Nigerian forward Adebowale Ogungbure was spit upon, taunted with racist remarks, and mocked with monkey noises as he left a soccer field after a club match in Halle, Germany. In response to the crowd, Ogungbure placed two fingers under his nose to imitate a Hitler mustache and thrust his arm in the Nazi salute. Such incidents are not unique to Germany, as similar incidents have occurred in other nations. While playing a game in Belgium, the American defender Oguchi Onyewu was taunted similarly to Ogungbure but was also physically attacked by a disgruntled fan of the opposing team as he dismissively waved off the racial insults. As he went to inbound the ball, he was reportedly punched in the face by an opposing fan that swung at him through the field’s barrier. These incidents are extremely disrespectful, and serve as further evidence of the need to stress the value of ethnic integration within our rising generations. It is only through changing the perceptions of youth today that a nation can strive to change the social dynamics that its population will face tomorrow. In attempting to make ethnic divides as transient as possible, various institutions can strive to reconstruct society as a multifaceted and integrated community. 

Soccer as a Tool for Integration

Kreuzberg and Wedding are two areas of Berlin that serve as examples of multicultural hubs of ethnic integration issues. Within these vibrant neighborhoods, two different programs have gained success in attempting to facilitate youth integration through the game of soccer. The first club, known throughout Kreuzberg and beyond, is Türkiyemspor Berlin. This organization, started in 1978, has grown to become the third largest soccer club within the city limits. The other youth club that is of significance has a much longer history with the city of Berlin and is currently recognized as its’ largest soccer club. Known as the Youth Academy of Hertha BSC Berlin, the original club hails from Wedding and spans over a century of history. Throughout the course of our research, we have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview representatives from both of these respected and progressive organizations. A discussion of the goals, successes, and fears brought forward by leaders of these clubs will help further elucidate the perception of the current state of affairs when dealing with integration in Berlin. 

Türkiyemspor, the newer and smaller of these two exemplary clubs, has over three hundred young people on its roster of players. According to FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football), “they have become the most famous club of Turkish origin in Germany and now run three men's, 14 junior and three girls' teams, with players of all ethnic origins welcome,” (FIFA.com). Within their first team alone, seven different countries are represented by youth under the guidance of a native German coach. Türkiyemspor tackles issues of burning importance within its home neighbourhood of Kreuzberg through its involvement and cooperation with local police, schools, non-governmental organizations, and social projects. Türkiyemspor has become involved in various facets of integration issues, ranging from their work with girl’s soccer to their participation in various tournaments surrounding topics pertaining to tolerance and assimilation within the community.

The concept behind Türkiyemspor came out of a desire to provide activities for youth who were victims of domestic violence within their home lives. The initial efforts of the club focused on providing integration activities for girls of primarily a Muslim migration background. These witnesses of domestic violence were often not given the opportunity within their society to become involved with integration efforts manifested in the realm of sport. Türkiyemspor has attempted to give these girls a venue in which to come together and meet other girls who may be originating from similar backgrounds. The organization works with girls between the ages of eight and thirteen through cooperating with schools to make it possible for them to become involved with soccer activities. 

Nico Borsetzky, a gentleman of Greek descent born and raised in Germany, is one of the head organizers of Türkiyemspor that agreed to speak with us. He explained the particular circumstances that have led to Türkiyemspor’s success among its targeted youth through the soccer programs for young girls.  According to Mr. Borsetzky, “what makes Türkiyemspor different from other football clubs is its incorporation of social instruction along with football.” He commented on difficulties in dealing with youths with migration backgrounds, especially with the projection of Turkish gender roles being pronounced on sports fields - conservative families, for example, may object to girl players wearing shorts. Türkiyemspor is the only soccer club within Berlin that offers such a multicultural and comprehensive program for young girls. (It is worthwhile to note that the English Football Club of Berlin additionally has such a program, yet such multicultural dynamics are nearly absent within their organization). Mr. Borsetzky further commented as to the breadth that their integration efforts encompass though additionally mentioning the historical binary conflict of East and West Berlin. In regards to the role of a formerly divided city now in a state of reunification, he says, “it is also important that we bring girls from East and West Berlin together…the wall is still in the heads of the people.” As depicted by Borsetzky, integration is the key for transgressing boundaries that have manifested divisions within mainstream Berliner society.

Community Soccer Integration Initiatives 

Alongside its efforts to promote the involvement of migrant girls in sports integration programs, Türkiyemspor has additionally become involved with three notable community initiatives. The first of these, referred to as “Stopp Tokat” (also known as Stop die Abzocke, Stop the rip-off) was created as a project with the Kreuzberg police that was developed as a reaction towards rising rates of neighbourhood crime. The ultimate goal of the project was the creation of a network against crime encompassing as many Kreuzberg clubs, schools and associations as possible. The project aimed to help enlighten children from various migrant backgrounds about the lives of their peers from different ethnic backgrounds. Through activities such as a painting contest between local elementary schools, “Stopp Tokat” was an attempt to use sport as a bridge for facilitating communication during times of hardship within a multiethnic community. A second initiative in which Türkiyemspor has participated is the “Respect Gaymes.” This project took the form of a soccer tournament held annually in June to oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians within the community. The tournament invited any and all who were interested in participating, regardless of sexual orientation. Türkiyemspor participated in order to offer support from the perspective of a group that is also a minority within Berlin. The third and final initiative of significance is the “Avitall-Cup,” an interreligious soccer tournament that will take place for the fourth annual time this July. At this tournament, players from Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and atheist teams all compete in the pursuit of winning the cup. Participation in such initiatives establishes Türkiyemspor as an organization that is passionate about the role of social integration for minorities from diverse backgrounds. Through concentrating their efforts in realms beyond ethnic conflicts, Türkiyemspor pledges to support integration of any and all minority groups. 

The commendable work of Türkiyemspor has not gone without notice within both Kreuzberg and the greater Berlin area. The federal government honored both the ‘Respect Gaymes’ and the ‘Avitall Cup’ as “exemplary events for the promotion of integration.” Of even greater significance is the presentation of the first ever award for stellar achievements within the field of integration to Türkiyemspor on behalf of the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB) and its premium partner, Mercedes Benz. The president of the DFB, Mr. Theo Zwanziger, recognizes the potential that sport holds within the ideal of integration through his partnership in the creation of the first ever DFB & Mercedes Benz Integration Prize. As noted on the official website of the DFB, Mr. Zwanziger believes fully in the ideal that “football has the unique potential to serve as a stepping stone for disadvantaged and sometimes discriminated minorities in our society. Sports should know no boundaries…people from all walks of life meet on the field or at the sidelines, as players and fans. If the various social agents interact, we can use football as the perfect tool to further an integrated society.” The allotment of such a prize to Türkiyemspor recognizes both the hard work and dedication of this particular club as well as the pledge initiated by professional sports organizations to actively encourage integration through recreation. 

In addition to the efforts of Türkiyemspor, the Youth Academy of Hertha BSC Berlin serves as a larger organization that encourages young athletes to take an active role in their education. The need for education is stressed within the club to the point that students who are truant from school face the reality of being suspended from game play. For many talented children who come from migrant parents, the value of education is a topic that is frequently neglected in their homes. The parents, recognizing the potential of their children, often fail to emphasize the significance and importance of obtaining a solid educational background in hopes that the child will go on to have a professional soccer career. This youth club has hired social workers in order to assist with problems that arise from such conflicts of interests and to provide players with an alternative source of the support beyond their coaching staff.  Through such collaboration, the club hopes to teach players tolerance, good communication skills, and an acceptance of the opinions of others. Coaching youth in the nuances of negotiating a system of hierarchies and accepting power structures is a component that the Youth Academy believes to be integral in creating the best possible team players. 

For many of the players themselves, the experience of playing on a diverse team children and teens has led them to become comfortable playing with others whose backgrounds may not resemble their own. During the course of our research, we had the opportunity to interview a talented young player of mixed Turkish and German descent who has worked his way up to the professional leagues. Malik Fathi, who now plays for Russia FC Spartak Moscow, helped shed some insight into the dimensions that exist between youth players of different ethnicities. He believed that “in the youth teams of Berlin, the composition is multicultural from the beginning. Therefore, most of the kids get used to it very quickly.” He followed up with comments on racist sentiments in soccer, suggesting that racist remarks in the sport “often come from the outside (team supporters, etc.)” and that such opinions are often not manifest in the players themselves. 

Mr. Oliver Heine, an assistant coach and teacher of an under seventeen team in Hertha’s Youth Academy, shared similar perspectives on the potential for sport to integrate and educate youth. One of the most significant challenges that Mr. Heine recognized in dealing with youth from diverse ethnic backgrounds is the assortment of ways in which the players themselves deal with issues on the field. He describes the various ways that youth respond to stressful situations, noting that “some players from different ethnic backgrounds respond more emotionally than German players… they usually feel more easily threatened than their German peers.”  Aware that issues of integration would undoubtedly arise within his club, Mr. Heine and his colleagues tried to attack the issue before it would become a larger problem. They initiated the creation of leisure activities that facilitated team-building, described by Mr. Heine as “putting kids in a boat together that we knew didn’t get along… but making them work together still.” Additionally, the Youth Project takes an interesting approach to dealing with conflicts that arise on the field during play. The club developed its own system for fair play that goes beyond the use of red cards as a punishment, as is standard in most games. Initially, the players wanted to develop a system of monetary fines that one must pay when given a red card during a game. Yet as a result of encouragement from the coaches, this monetary system was exchanged for one of community social work in which older players would have to assist in coaching and training the younger teams as a punishment for unfair play. The system based around social responsibility appears to have been a success, and in the words of Mr. Heine, “we haven’t had a player receive another red card since.” 

When it comes to dealing with conflicts between players during the games, the Youth Project has introduced another concept in hopes of promoting integration through mutual understanding and respect. Rather than sending players off the field to punish any arising conflict, team coaches choose instead to bring the disputing players together right on the field to attempt to sort out the differences before they can turn into larger issues. As elaborated by Mr. Heine, such conflicts are “usually a matter of misunderstanding, not blatant disrespect.” Through bringing the players together to discuss the dispute, team coaches hope to quell any hostilities that may develop through a misinterpretation of a volatile situation. Such attempts at conflict resolution, while not revolutionary in their approach, do promote the integration of youth through encouraging perspective-taking and mutual understanding on behalf of individuals coming from various migrant backgrounds. 

Tournaments Towards Integration

In addition to the creation of soccer clubs designed to target issues of integration, several large tournaments and activities have been created that serve to unite a multitude of clubs during a single athletic event. In the course of our research, we had the opportunity to attend two large-scale events that were created specifically with the intentions to facilitate integration through soccer. The first of these events, mentioned in our introduction, was the Kids-Integration-EuroCup that took place on Sunday, June 29, 2008. The tournament was created to expand upon the excitement created by the professional EuroCup that was simultaneously being decided in Austria and Switzerland during this time. The second event, also held on Sunday, June 29, 2008, took a rather different approach to the integration of diverse youth through the creation of a street soccer tournament, Strasse! Kickt, which incorporated live musical performances and a photo exhibition into the day’s events. Both events, while differing in their styles of tackling youth integration, attempted to promote soccer as a tool for transcending ethnic differences amongst youth in Berlin. 

Visiting both of these tournaments allowed for a much more expansive understanding of the manner in which integration can be achieved through the game of soccer. The first of these tournaments, the Kids-Integration-EuroCup, consists of sixteen teams playing the same schedule and bracket division of the actual EuroCup. All participants are elementary school age, between the ages of ten to eleven, and play short games that last twelve minutes each. Teams are developed either from the Europe Schools (Europaschulen) of the respective countries participating in the EuroCup (Europe Schools stress equal access to education, cultural diversity and the importance of learning languages) or are previously structured from affiliation with various club organizations. The primarily goal behind the formation of such a tournament is to host an event based around youth integration every time that a large tournament (i.e. the World Cup, the EuroCup) is being attended by European nations. In this fashion, children can feel as though they are a part of a global sport initiative that goes beyond local club involvement. 

Bernd Heynemann, a well-known former soccer referee and current member of the Bundestag (Germany’s national assembly), is the chairman of this tournament. Mr. Heynemann, when interviewed regarding his opinions on sport as a means for integrating multiethnic youth, regarded such integration as a process which “doesn’t happen in minutes or hours, but at each and every moment…integration must exist on all levels of society, for both young and old alike.”  The core of this tournament, however, is centered around the notion that integration must begin within the youth since it is this generation that will set the tone in future years. The youth integration cup, in particular, additionally embraces the concept that corporations have to recognize their social responsibilities and attempt to contribute to successful integration. Mr. Heynemann echoed this ideal when asked what role politics and politicians can play in assisting integration efforts, saying, “Politics can only provide the framework for integration. The rest has to come from the organizations themselves.” Interestingly, however, many of these corporations do not embrace their share of social responsibility and do not fund integration clubs and tournaments, often leaving these establishments extremely underfunded and dependent upon independent donations. 

Several other politicians share Mr. Heynemann’s faith in the power of sport for bringing together youth from migrant backgrounds. Klaus Wowereit, the governing mayor of Berlin, made a public statement regarding the use of recreation as a means of integration that was published in the Kids-Integration-EuroCup brochure. He stated that “Sports can help to eliminate prejudices and to develop mutual understanding.  An event like the Kids-Integration-EuroCup fosters a sense of belonging together among young people, which especially a city like Berlin, which is characterized by cultural diversity, needs.”  Gül Keskinler, who was appointed commissioner for integration of the DFB in 2006, was also quoted in regards to her comments on the function of the youth EuroCup. She proposed that “soccer fascinates people from all cultural and social backgrounds. With its multifaceted clubs and associations, it represents a connecting element of our society.” Clearly one can see that a belief in the power of recreation to promote integration is not a minority opinion within the minds of Germany’s decision-makers. 

Even beyond the realm of those who have influence in policy making, one can find many who believe in soccer’s ability to transcend ethnic divides. A team from Türkiyemspor Berlin, one of the city’s largest soccer clubs, proved to have the right moves when they took home the first place trophy at the conclusion of the Kids-Integration-EuroCup. Türkiyemspor Berlin’s president, Celal Bingöl, was asked how he felt about the tournament and its goals. He responded, saying that “I am convinced that we as adults can learn a lot from how the children deal with each other. Children don’t distinguish between ethnicities. They approach each other as human beings, as young people who have fun playing soccer.” The optimism of Mr.Bingöl is demonstrative of a generation that hopes that their children and grandchildren will be able to experience a more integrated sense of community than was ever possible during their youth. When placing such hopes in the hands of our children, we must additionally provide them with some of the tools necessary for realizing these objectives. The Kids-Integration-EuroCup, through giving children exposure to different groups and facilitating dialogue across team boundaries, aims to provide youth with experience and understanding when dealing with individuals who are from a different ethnic background. It is with the hope that these children will perpetuate ideals of equality and community that such integration events have become so popularly received within Berlin. To once again quote professional soccer player Malik Fathi, “the most positive thing is the support of the youngsters, no matter where they come from…I think that soccer has the potential to unite peoples.” 

The second Berlin tournament that we had the opportunity to attend approached the topic of youth integration in an alternative fashion to that of the Kids-Integration-EuroCup. The street soccer cup, known better as Strasse!Kickt, was held outside of the central train station of Berlin. This tournament, rather than just recreating a professional tournament, sought to take a threefold approach to youth integration. The first component of this approach was the street soccer tournament itself. The second facet included a cultural program, which consisted of original musical performances and the debut of a song especially created by youth for this tournament. The third and final component to Strasse!Kickt consisted of  ‘learning spaces’ throughout the actual venue in which the development of individual personalities was promoted by giving responsibility to the kids and empowering them to trust in their own abilities. Despite such variations in the structure of the two tournaments, Strasse!Kickt embraced a similar belief as to the role of sport in bringing together diverse youth. The official pamphlet for the event urged that “soccer can create more than just winners and losers. It brings people together, creates public spaces for exchange, dialogue and creativity.” Strasse!Kickt, through taking a multi-dimensional approach to promoting integration, has attempted to increase the influence of sport through complimenting such games with artistic and musical endeavors. 

One of the most attractive and unique aspects of the Strasse!Kickt event was revealed to us during an interview with head organizer Ian Mengel. Mr. Mengel, a representative from the youth sport organization Play!Ya, was approached by officials to create this event to promote youth integration. He noted that, in an attempt to develop a notion of self-efficacy amongst youth participants, all aspects of the tournament were determined by the youth themselves. This includes everything, from the creation of the logo to the designing of promotional fliers to the structuring of tournament rules. Of exceptional note was that at no games were any referees ever present—in their place, there were so called youth “teamers” that assisted on facilitating the tournament but that did not actively intervene. In accordance with the omission of referees was the complete omission of red and yellow cards for penalizing unfair play. At first, such a staging would sound almost chaotic, yet in practice the approach worked amazingly well in encouraging youth to work together to resolve their differences. 

In exchange for issuing penalties to individual team players, Mr. Mengel helped the children to create a system that rewards ‘fair play’ on behalf of an entire team. ‘Fair play’ points were to be determined at the conclusion of a contest and then added to the overall score in order to determine a winner. Teams would distribute two points to their opponent if they believed they played entirely fairly, one point if the game was partially fair, and zero points if they felt that the game was played in an unfair manner. These points were determined on the basis of six credentials:

1. Say hello before game starts
2. No deliberate time delays
3. After a foul: say sorry and help
4. After game: congratulate
5. No swearing towards opponents
6. Show respect to teamers, players and spectators

As demonstrated by the construction of such special rules, Strasse!Kickt employed an approach that envisioned integration as a factor that would result as a natural response to fair play conformity. As summarized by Mr. Mengel, “the kids that come to our tournament want to stay together with their comrades and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to force them to mingle. It is much more helpful to stress the importance of fair-play on the pitch.” Interestingly, when pressed further to elucidate his own views on the value of and potential for integration with the Strasse!Kickt tournament, Mr. Mengel argued that many people use integration as a potential ‘gimmick’ for garnering attention for their projects. “The word integration,” stressed Mr. Mengel, “is used very often although people don’t share a common definition of the term. It is also very popular among funders.” Despite his recognition of the potential for integration to become a trite topic within public discourse, it is impossible to understate its value when it comes to encouraging multiethnic interaction amongst youth. Mr. Heynemann, the chairman of the Kids-Integration-EuroCup, when informed of the views of Mr. Mengel, offered a thought provoking response regarding such integration overload. He pointed out that “if we say we’ve done too much integration, that means that we’ve then succeeded at this – and that’s not really possible to say.” In lieu of contesting opinions, both Mr. Mengel and Mr. Heynemann have taken great initiative in trying to bring youth together over the shared love of a sport. Regardless of the medium in which this co-operation is manifested, such tournaments and events still promote the general ideal of facilitating a sense of community amongst youth who otherwise may never have the opportunity to interact with one another.

Integration - Is it Just a Game Away?

The hope of utilizing recreation as a platform for integration amongst multiethnic youth is a dream that has begun to be realized within Berlin. The clubs and tournaments that we have had the opportunity to experience have given us reason to believe that the future can be a place in which heterogeneous ethnic groups can co-exist in a harmonious balance within this multiethnic city. It is only through educating and exposing a child to the parallel societies that exist within his or her home that one can truly begin to promote integration amongst future generations. With this ideal in mind, we applaud the efforts of organizations committed to facilitating such interactions. And as we depart from Berlin, we learn to envision soccer as more than just a ninety-minute game – rather, we see it now as a lifetime opportunity for encouraging integration, respect, and understanding amongst the youth who will become the promising leaders of tomorrow.


Deutscher Fussball-Bund, “DFB Honors Stellar Integration Efforts” dfb.de, January 7, 2008, http://www.dfb.de/index.php?id=500016&no_cache=1&tx_dfbnews_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=13102&cHash=4a8d5a4b96

FIFA, “Football, the Great Integrator,” FIFA.COM, February 6, 2008, http://www.spiegel.de/international/reimann.html

Charles Hawly, “Germany-Turkey Clash Shines Spotlight on Integration,” Spiegel Online International, June 25, 2008, http://www.spiegel.de/international/hawly.html

Reimann, Anna. “Merkel’s 400 Integration Promises,” Spiegel Online International, July 13, 2007, http://www.spiegel.de/international/reimann.html

The Offside Bundesliga, “Hertha BSC Berlin: One Touch Football and One Touch Mood Swings,” Bundesliga.theoffside.com, September 25, 2007, http://bundesliga.theoffside.com/teams/hertha-bsc-berlin-one-touch-football-and-one-touch-mood-swings.html

The Washington Times, “Berlin’s Embrace of Immigrations a Success,” The Washington Times Online, June 11, 2006, http://www.washingtontimes.com/berlinsintegration

Veysel Özcan, “Focus Migration: Germany,” Netzwerk Migration in Europa, 2007, http://www.focus-migration.de/Germany.1509.0.html?&L=1

Interview Citations:
Nico Borsetzky, Head Organizer of Türkiyemspor, Berlin Germany, June 26, 2008

Malik Fathi, Professional Soccer Player for Russian FC Spartak Moscow, September 2008

Oliver Heine, Assistant Coach and Teacher, Hertha BSC Berlin Youth Program, Berlin, Germany, June 24, 2008. 

Bernd Heynemann, Chairman of Kids-Integration-EuroCup and Member of the Bundestag, Berlin, Germany, June 29, 2008

Ian Mengel, Head Organizer of Strasse!Kickt, Berlin, Germany, June 27, 2008

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