With their top class skills and exemplary team spirit, German players and coaches are in demand abroad as never before. An initiative wants to honor those whose sporting achievements and social engagement stand out.
When footballers ply their trade abroad, they’re more than just players. They become a standard-bearer for their nation, a representative of their country’s brand of football. German players and coaches have been in demand the world over for years – a demand that has only grown since Germany won the FIFA World Cup in 2014.
The German Football Ambassador initiative honours players and coaches who promote a positive image of Germany through their endeavours abroad. Prizes in various categories are given every year.
The winner of the German Football Ambassador award is determined by an expert jury. The Public Award goes to one of 11 selected active footballers playing abroad according to an online vote. Additionally, a Prize of Honour can be bestowed on a player or coach who has made an extraordinary contribution to the German game abroad.
19 grants have been supported since 2013
It’s not all about someone’s exploits within the game. Prize winners use their public platform to promote positive cultural and social engagement projects. They won their fame through sport, and they use that sporting fame to build a better society. The Football Ambassador award comes with money that the nominees and eventual winner can contribute to charitable social projects. Since 2013, the organization has funded 19 such projects. Examples include: Boys Town Academy in Jamaica, where youngsters get the chance to play organised football and stay away from crime and the drug trade; and Jerusalem’s Peres Center for Peace, where Jewish and Arab kids and adults get a chance to play football together – and thus learn to overcome the barriers between them.
The Public Award: choose from the 11 candidates!
Which German playing abroad is your favourite? Help pick the 2016 winner from our list of 11 nominees. Past winners Sami Khedira(2013), André Schürrle (2014) and Mesut Özil (2015) have had their chance to take the prize and no longer in the running. Perhaps this year it’s Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos or Per Mertesacker’s turn. And lest you think we’ve forgotten the German women, your vote could help Anja Mittag or Corina Schröder become the first female Football Ambassador Public Award winner.
Expert jury to choose from three nominees
German football coaches are more in demand than ever. Whether it’s Premier League club in England or a national team in Africa on the hunt for a new coach, chances are a German could be considered. And this year, our nominees are all coaches: Erich Rutemöller (Bundesliga, DFB, Iran, Afganistan), Gernot Rohr (Ligue 1, Gabon, Niger, Burina Faso), and Burkhard Pape (Uganda, Egypt, Tanzania).
The German Football Ambassador prize winner will be chosen by our panel of top experts across the German game: football legend Uwe Seeler; publisher of kicker sport magazine Rainer Holzschuh; German women’s national team manager Doris Fitschen; Lutz Pfannenstiel, ex-pro and author of The Unstoppable Keeper about his playing days on six continents; Martin Schäfer, German Foreign Ministry Spokesman; and Peter Lohmeyer, actor and star of The Miracle of Bern. Last year US national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann won the award. Prior to that, Monika Staab (2014) and Holger Obermann (2013) were the winners.
Want to know more? Then tune in on 28 March! In a special edition of Kick off!, we’ll bring you an in-depth report on each of this year’s nominees. We visit Burkhard Paper, travel to South Korea to meet Eric Rutemöller, and track down Gernot Rohr in Burkina Faso.
Football can do more!
Just how much more football can do to promote togetherness and a better society has been shown by the engagement of our past winners. In 2015, Thomas Hitzlsperger took the Prize of Honor for his efforts to fight racism, anti-Semitism and far-right violence.
The first such prize winner was Dettmar Cramer, who was honored for his work in the USA, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Just as worthy of the prize was Rudi Gutendorf. He’s coached a record-setting 18 different national teams. He’s still active, runing the 'Riegel Rudi' initiative - and you can be too. Vote for our Public Award here!