Jurgen Klinsmann and Danny Williams have championed the Bundesliga’s ‘Common Ground’ project and the effect it could have on the opportunities for young people in soccer around the globe.
The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga launched the project earlier this month with the aim of ‘renovating and revitalising football pitches around the world to offer more young people the opportunity to play and enjoy football’.
Pitches have already been unveiled in Lagos (Nigeria), Mexico City (Mexico) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Further sites are planned in Germany, Argentina, Poland, the USA, and South East Asia.
Speaking exclusively to 90min on the project, former Germany and United States head coach and legendary forward Klinsmann explained the importance of the project in offering more opportunities in soccer for young people.
“A project like this, Common Ground, and the initiative from the Bundesliga is outstanding,” said Klinsmann. “And it’s really, really, really important to do this type of project, because you want to catch the kids out there playing their own game, improvising their own game, doing their own stuff, in order to fall in love with the game, and that’s street soccer, pick up games, whatever it is.
“This is the foundation of everything. And I think it’s hugely important to have more of these projects all over the place, all over the city, and all over other cities. And I think it’s a great starting point what the Bundesliga is doing now.”
Former USMNT midfielder Danny Williams – who played for the likes of Freiburg, Hoffenheim, Reading, and Huddersfield Town across his club career – agreed with Klinsmann, but also focused on the ‘community’ and ‘cultural’ benefits of bringing people together with soccer.
“Events like this remind me of when I was a kid, when my parents took me to different pitches where I was running after football, because it brings the people together,” Williams told 90min.
“I think from a cultural aspect, you can see that soccer is for everyone, whatever race, whatever community you belong to. I think events like this… I hope there’s going to be more of them because it’s super important. It brings people together and actually educates people on culture.”
Klinsmann and Williams spoke to 90min at the ‘Bundesliga Common Ground Project Event’ in NYC. For information and more from Williams and Klinsmann, check out our latest our article here and more of our video content from the event on our Twitter and Instagram.