Every kid dreams of kicking with a two-time European Champion and a World Champion. But the few kids who played ball with Celia Sasic and Philipp Lahm on a small court at the Football Museum in Dortmund last Tuesday had to ask: “Who are the woman and the man?” They wanted to know.
No problem for Celia Sasic and Philipp Lahm, whose names are certainly familiar to most football fans, but the 33-year-old’s active career path, 2015 Women’s World Cup top scorer and 38-year-old Bundesliga captain -Rio-Helden is now over again. one some time ago. Young footballers, aged between eight and 14, are more familiar with current stars such as Erling Haaland or “eternal role models” Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Celia Sasic and Philipp Lahm came to Dortmund as ambassadors for the upcoming European Championship in Germany. The Vice-President of the German Federation for Diversity and Diversity and Director of Euro 2024 got an idea for street football, called “Nordstadtliga” here in the shadow of the big BVB. Children do not play in a club, but meet every weekend on the football field and play the winners there.
Football brings people together: ‘a very important project’
“The kids who were there and I thought it was great that they played football with us, as if they were from Nordstadt themselves.”
The Nordstadtliga has existed since 2001 and is an open street football league in the Dortmund-Nord region, which is organized by the Youth Welfare Office in Dortmund, AWO street work And Neighborhood School Dortmund eV It is organized. Children, adolescents and young adults from different nations and cultures, often brought up in difficult economic and social conditions, must be connected through the project and integrated into social structures through sport. Since the end of 2020, the street football show has been one of the beacon projects of BVB “Light up”.
Celia Sasic and Philip Lamm were excited about the date on site. “It’s good to see how football is interconnected and everyone can be there,” said the 2014 world champion. The 2015 UEFA Champions League winner with 1. FFC Frankfurt added: “The Nordstadtliga is a very important project. Football can bring people together. Borders. Anyone and everyone can participate. That is what I love about football.”
Abdelkader has been there almost from the start. The 45-year-old came to Germany from Morocco in 1989. In his homeland, he played for FC Morocco, and in Dortmund he was the right-back on the ball for SV Bergofen and later for PSV Fortuna. “He allowed me to change my father. He did not allow me to,” Abdelkader recalled, an explicit announcement from the house.
Ash becomes artificial grass
He should focus more on school and later on his training, so his career on the pitch had to be postponed. But Abdelkader remained loyal to football, first as a player and since 2000 also as a referee. “As a player, I often got upset with the referee when I didn’t think he was fair on the pitch,” Abdelkader says.
He is still a contented referee, but no longer in the official match of the Bundesliga, but in Nordstadtlee. There are over 500 children and young adults on the ball on the football field on Burgholzstraße, yet quite classically on ashes. However, this won’t last much longer, as the city approved the funds needed to convert the mini-playground into artificial turf a year ago. After some delay, construction work on the new yard has now begun and is due to be completed by the end of the summer.
Then more than 60 teams with 500 or so recreational football players, who take part in the Nordstadtliga matches held every Sunday in the form of a tournament in an “all against all” mode, will experience a completely new feeling of the ball. “I’m looking forward to it,” admits Abdelkader.
Sasic and Lam want to come back
It has now been with more than 20 years AWO street work In Dortmund, he worked as a contact person for refugees and is now pushing new social projects in the area in addition to his work at Nordstadtliga. Visiting celebrities like Celia Sasic and Philipp Lahm are useful for accessing social offerings of AWO street work and other institutions in Dortmund. “They were both very kind people, wholly normal, and down to earth,” he says of the pleasant encounter with the football greats. “The kids who were there and I thought it was great that they played football with us, as if they were from Nordstadt themselves.”
Celia Sasic and Philipp Lahm also loved her so much that they promised to come back – next time they could play on the beautiful new artificial turf on the football field on Burgolz Street.