On the 8th of May 2018, the German Football Ambassador e.V. honoured German football coaches, players and idols at the Federal Foreign Office, who contribute to the positive image of football and Germany through their sporting and social commitment abroad. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and initiator of the German Football Ambassador e.V. Roland Bischof welcomed around 200 guests from different areas such as politics, sport and business.
Football is multicultural.
Roland Bischof, founder of the Association German Football Ambassador, comments: "German football is multicultural. Perhaps this is why German football professionals become cosmopolitan athletes who get socially involved where they work".
The award ceremony took place for the sixth time. In addition to the prize of honour, a jury of experts chose the winner of the main category "Coach", the audience chose the winner in the category "Player" and a referee legend was accepted into the "Hall of Fame".
Football inspires young Japanese kickers.
Nominated for the main prize "Coach 2018" were Gert Engels, co-trainer of the Japanese FC Vissel Kobe, where Lukas Podolski also plays, Theo Bücker, coach of the El-Nejmeh club in Lebanon and Ernst Middendorp, technical director of True Bangkok United in Thailand. The top-class jury, chaired by Rainer Holzschuh, editor of the popular German football magazine "Kicker", awarded Gert Engels with the main prize, who contributed to German-Japanese football exchange for more than 20 years. In addition to professional sport, he decided on the sustainable "Future Local" project. Its aim is to give children and young people affected by the tsunami disaster a better future through football.
"Japan has become my second home. Our countries have a lot in common. I love my job as a coach in professional football, but also with the kids," explains Gert Engels. "Football turns children and young people into "team players" and strengthens their character. Strong children become strong people, even outside of sport."