9. August 2022 – SCORING GIRLS*

SCORING GIRLS* in London – Experiencing the European Football Championship 2022 live!

Maisun, Azeza, and Tuğba are talking about Kurdish food, cooking, the streets and houses in Iraq. “This is so important for me,” Azeza says, “to be able to talk about what it’s like there. For everyone to know about it. There should be more girls like us.” The trip to London gives time and space for the issues that often get lost in everyday life – getting to know each other, but also discovering new aspects of each other. There is an incredible amount of strength, openness, and warmth!

During these July days, the soccer world is looking to England: four days of European Soccer Championship frenzy for Maisun, Azeza and Princess – three of our SCORING GIRLS*, who are traveling to the group match of the German women’s national soccer team against Finland live at the stadium. Among other things. The program is packed with exciting events. Traveling with them: SCORING GIRLS* initiator and founder Tuğba Tekkal, as well as coach Lea.

The trip is made possible by our project partner Adidas, which makes so many of the goals we have set ourselves with SCORING GIRLS* come true. The first stop is a guided tour of the large Adidas store in London, where the employees flock our T-shirts with personalized lettering – including names and player numbers.

In the evening, we go to the public viewing of the England-Northern Ireland match, where it feels like the whole country is rooting for the English women. The energy is overwhelming! Azeza is moved to tears by the public attention for women’s sports.

On Saturday, we lace up our soccer boots and start the day with a training session on a rooftop pitch of a local training hall while enjoying the magnificent view of the London skyline. In the evening, the highlight of the trip: We are live at the group match between Germany and Finland in Milton Keynes. When Nicole Anyomi, the only black player on the DFB team, enters the pitch during the halftime break, Princess jumps up from her seat as if struck by lightning: “Azeza! Azeza! Look! She looks like me!” Spellbound, she follows Anyomi’s movements, cheering along with the entire stadium when she scores a goal. “That was so emotional for me!” an overjoyed Princess will later confide.

On Sunday, we then visit the Arsenal Stadium, the stadium of the English first league team Arsenal London. We get a guided tour of the fourth-largest soccer venue in the country, which even offers space to slip into the roles of the players at a press conference: We take a seat in front of the club’s press wall and feel like the stars of the English league!

This trip inspires us and the girls really blossom here. For them, it was even the very first trip abroad: the girls had to apply for passports and visas, and the bureaucratic effort was long and exhausting. But it was worth it!

Not just because of the encounter on a London football pitch: a spontaneous game against youngsters from the neighborhood. Maisun, Azeza and Princess show what they are able to do. They step onto the pitch with a broad chest, spurring each other on. Princess’ glasses break when a ball shot hits her in the head. She puts them down on her bag and continues to play.

Soccer is omnipresent, a bridge for so many experiences: The importance of community and friendship can be experienced. How self-confident it makes you to improve. How secure you suddenly feel when others believe in you. The London trip gives momentum and strength – a resource that doesn’t disappear after four days, but continues to have an effect for a long time.