“Unfortunately not much has changed for girls in football,” says the captain of the Germany national football team.

Sierra Leone Telegraph:

PUMA CEO Arne Freundt and Germany national soccer team captain Alexandra Popp talk about leadership and the challenges of women in soccer. The video interview is part of the sports company’s digital annual report, which was published on about.puma.com on March 18.

girls in football

Three-time German Footballer of the Year, Alexandra is one of women’s football’s most prominent ambassadors, known for her on-field skill and charismatic leadership. She started her career playing in a mixed team, and she clearly remembers how the girls were often looked down upon and treated unfairly on the field.

“Football is still quite difficult for girls. The boys on my team were good. But our opponents had a different story. They laughed at you. They said: Look, there is a girl in their team, we will beat them easily, said Alexandra. “Or when you play and you dribble past the first man, maybe get past the second man and then the third man makes a hard foul on you and knocks you off your feet. In a very bad way. And your parents are on the sidelines cheering him on. If you listen to how girls are still treated in some clubs, not much has changed.”


Arne said her story shows how much still needs to be done to create equal opportunities for women in football.

“Your story is very inspiring and has had a huge impact on me. I thought and hoped that our society would be more open and judge players based on their skill and performance, not their gender,” Arne said on his LinkedIn channel. “This clearly shows that we still have a long way to go. As a sports company we are 100% committed to supporting trailblazers like you who prove the haters and doubters wrong.”

Despite tough times as a young player, Alexandra believes the challenges early in her career gave her the thick skin she needed to persist in her long and successful career.

“I completely agree with the girls who say: I don’t want that,” she said. “Because that was the path I chose to follow, I can say now that those years helped me build a certain resilience and a certain mindset. Maybe that’s what made me the shape and character I am today when I’m on the field.”

When it comes to leadership, Alex said he believed the necessary skills were part of his mindset early in his career, but when asked to captain the team he said he still had a lot to learn. remains.

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“I needed a year to grow into that position, especially when it came to communication,” said Alexandra. “As a player, I benefited from tough, straightforward advice. And I thought, OK, I’ll do it exactly the same way. But it actually had the opposite effect on some players. I had to learn that.”

Arne, who becomes CEO of PUMA in 2022, said he quickly discovered how much he enjoys leading a team and developing people to reach their full potential.

“My first team was quite small, just two employees,” Arne said. “But I had already really enjoyed it, leading them, developing them and seeing that you have an impact. You make them better at what they do.”

When asked to give advice to young people who want to become CEOs themselves, Arne said that they should first follow their passion.

“Find something you really enjoy doing. It motivates you internally,” Arne said. “It gives you energy and keeps you going. Once you know this, there will be no other obstacles to making you successful.”

Alexandra will captain Germany in the Olympic football tournament in Paris this year.

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about puma

PUMA is one of the world’s leading sports brands, designing, developing, selling and marketing footwear, apparel and accessories. For more than 75 years, PUMA has continuously advanced sport and culture by creating fast products for the world’s fastest athletes.

PUMA offers performance and sport-inspired lifestyle products in categories such as soccer, running and training, basketball, golf and motorsports. It collaborates with famous designers and brands to bring sports influences into street culture and fashion. PUMA Group owns the PUMA, Cobra Golf and Stitched brands. The company distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs about 20,000 people worldwide and is headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany.

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