Between Lothar Matthäus sending video greetings, PUMA sponsoring the team kit, and the invitation to participate being sent worldwide, the third annual soccer camp for children with hearing loss is primed for success—right in time for World Cup summer.
The upcoming sporting event is organized by Phonak, a provider of hearing solutions, and Simon Ollert, who, despite his profound hearing loss, has already played Bundesliga-level soccer, Phonak announced. The aim of the event is to give encouragement to children with hearing loss and to make a positive impact on their lives through soccer. Up to 35 boys and girls with hearing loss from Germany and other countries were invited to join the training camp with Ollert in Ettal, Upper Bavaria, from May 30 through June 3.
“The soccer camp for children with hearing loss is now one of our regular fixtures,” says Martin Grieder, group vice president, hearing instruments marketing at Sonova. “We are absolutely delighted to continue our successful project in what is now its third year, with the support of Simon Ollert.
“It’s fantastic that PUMA and Lothar Matthäus are also supporting us. Together, we can make an active contribution to improving the quality of life of children with hearing loss.”
Matthäus, a former international soccer player, national player, and trainer, has lent his support in the form of a motivational video message: “I am truly amazed by the success of your camp; it is really impressive that you are now in your third year already, with participants from various countries. This indeed was a great joint initiative from Simon and Phonak. I am very glad that Puma has now joined your cause as an equipment supplier and provides valuable support to you. I truly wish I had been there myself and hope I will manage to sometime in the future,’’ he said.
The international invitation to join the camp is being organized in partnership with pediatric audiologists and Phonak’s national companies. The camp is aimed at soccer-crazed girls and boys with hearing loss ages 10 to 14. An innovation this year was the option to apply by video. A short clip, recorded using a smartphone, gave kids an opportunity to introduce themselves and demonstrate some of their soccer skills. In this way, Phonak and Ollert, along with his team of trainers, can get to know the children in advance, choose the optimal place for them according to their skills, and encourage their development in a more effective and targeted way.
Previous participants in the soccer camp are enthusiastic about its quality. “It was fantastic to see how the children developed while they were there,” commented the mother of one of last year’s participants. “The support the children are given is very personal, individual, and loving.”
The training sessions during the five-day event are professionally delivered by Ollert and his team of trainers. They teach soccer skills and nurture a feel for the ball. Fair play and team spirit are very much in evidence. Through enjoyment of the game, the kids learn how to build their self-confidence, measure themselves against their peers, and grow in terms of both their sporting abilities and their personalities. The entire training program takes place at various soccer pitches in Ettal, against the backdrop of the Ammergau Alps.
In terms of equipment for the team, partner PUMA leaves no wish unfulfilled. The international sports brand is providing soccer balls, jerseys, and kit bags, according to Phonak. The kids are kitted out in cooperation with the regionally based sales partner STS Sport & Travel Service from Murnau.
“We’re delighted to be supporting Phonak in its quest to enrich the lives of children with hearing loss through the unique power of sport and play. Phonak shares our values of breaking down barriers through sport and creating a sense of community,” says Matthias Bäumer, managing director of PUMA Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (DACH).
Even during the events that take place alongside the camp, such as outdoor activities and other surprises, the emphasis is on team spirit. There are plenty of opportunities to talk to Ollert about his life as a soccer pro and his experience wearing hearing aids.
Advice and tips on living with hearing aids at school and during sports and leisure activities will be provided by experts from Phonak, who will be on-hand throughout the event. Phonak has been developing hearing solutions for over 70 years and has decades of experience in providing pediatric hearing aids.
For Ollert, the soccer camp is a project that is very close to his heart. “My own story shows what you can really achieve, despite hearing loss. It’s amazing that Phonak is helping me to put this unique sporting event together. It allows us to inspire kids and young people and to encourage them to pursue their own goals in life.”
The short, multi-award-winning movie (in German) about Ollert’s path to professional soccer can be found here:
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