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Jens Lehmann speaks about the Laureus football charity close to his heart

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May 3, 2013
In a new series of articles from our friends at www.netzathleten.de, Laureus Ambassadors reveal their early sport experiences and why they are so passionate about their charity work with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
First up here, translated from the original German, is Jens Lehmann, the legendary Arsenal goalkeeper who became a Laureus Ambassador last year.
 
Q: How did you get into sports?
A: I have always had a lot of fun in sports and exercise. Since my earliest childhood I was always active. I first started playing with my brother and cousin on the street, and at my parents’ a football pitch was right next door.
 
What difficulties do you remember from that time?
In comparison to the young people that we support with Laureus, I  can’t really speak of difficulties. But in the beginning I didn’t even have the right football boots to play with, It was only when my brother received his first Communion, that I was given the right football shoes. But I would not call it a real difficulty.
 
Did your parents support you at this time?
You could say that, yes. They never prevented me expressing my thoughts and dreams and always strengthened my efforts.
 
Has this experience been important when it comes to your supporting the Laureus Kicking Girls project?
Yes of course. We try to encourage the girls in the project to do what they want to.
How does the project work from the ground up?
The project primarily supports girls from immigrant backgrounds. Many parents would not, for example, approve that her daughter, joining a football club, is coached by a male coach. Therefore, we also promote the formation of [appropriate] trainers and assistants, so that we can overcome this obstacle.
 
How suitable is football for a girl’s project?
I think that it's very nice, especially for girls. My daughter plays football with her brothers. While many sports can teach teamwork, nothing is as easy to organise as a football game. So the girls can move, have fun with it and in doing so gain self-confidence.
 
Find out more about the Kicking Girls programme and other Laureus projects here!