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Language Learning and Friendly Competition at German Soccer Camps!

July 2, 2019

This summer, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup, and Copa América have Americans buzzing about international soccer. The Goethe-Institut Chicago used this soccer-mania as an opportunity to teach kids about German language and culture while training the soccer stars of tomorrow at their German Soccer Camps.

Matthias Eiles and Giovanni Brandi, who coach Eintracht Frankfurt’s U-12 team, visited four schools across the country for three-day soccer camps held completely in German! Their visit was made possible by Auf Ballhöhe, an intercultural education and sports project.

Camp begins in the classroom, where teachers give action-oriented lessons that prepare the students for the training sessions. Students then get to put their new vocabulary into practice while improving their skills on the field. At the end of the camp, students competed in a small tournament to see who got to raise the Goethe Cup!

Melanie Mello, a German teacher at Willis Jr. High School in Chandler, AZ, thought the program was an exciting way to engage with different types of students. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity to promote the study of the German language and culture for the German soccer camp Wunderbar Together,” she said. “And I’m excited to see how students from various backgrounds across the United States will benefit from this program.”

The German Soccer Camps traveled to four schools spread across the country and adapted their programs to appeal to students at all grade levels. Stops on the tour included Willis Jr. High School in Chandler, AZ, South Middle School, Waukee, IA, Oconomowoc High School in Oconomowoc, WI, and Deerfield Elementary School in Lexington, SC.

Students were equally enthusiastic about getting to take their interest in sports into the classroom. “We’ll learn the vocabulary, and then we’ll do a little game to test how we’re doing on it and also to keep it really fun instead of sitting there learning,” explained one student at Willis Jr. High. “Soccer is one of my favorite sports so I thought ‘Might as well just do this’ and see how it goes – and it was awesome!”

Find more information about the German Soccer Camps and download free teaching materials on the Goethe-Institut Chicago website!

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