Borussia Dortmund are branching out to Mexico. The BVB foundation leuchte auf (light up), which is supported by the BVB Evonik Soccer School, is teaming up with a Mexican fan club to plan a social project for children from all walks of life. The Academia Borussia aims to support young people and offer them the opportunity to regularly play their favourite sport, to come into contact with BVB and to learn important social values that will help them in their lives.
Coach Patrick Kulinski, of the BVB Evonik Soccer School, was the first "official Black and Yellow" on site. He spoke to us about his impressions and emotions, as well as Borussia Dortmund's large following in Mexico.
Patrick, several weeks have now passed since your visit. Which memories have remained with you since then?
The brilliant people that I got the chance to meet in that wonderful country. All of them, particularly the children and the young people, deserve to have our support.
How did the contact with Mexico come about?
Through the Münstermann brothers, in particular Humberto Morales Münstermann, who is known as "Toto" by everyone. He founded the first official Borussia Dortmund fan club in Mexico, "BVB09MEX", together with his brother Kevin and two friends on 19 December 2012. They have loved the club since they were born.
Why is that?
Their passion probably stems from their German roots. Their grandparents still live in a small German town in Lower Saxony.
What is special about this fan club BVB09MEX?
It is based in the capital of Mexico City and, rather incredibly, already has 2,000 members. It's Echte Liebe (true love), Mexican-style. The club house is completely black and yellow with an enormous collection of scarves, shirts and flags.
But the enthusiasm for Borussia Dortmund is not the only thing that makes this fan club stand out?
Not at all. On 9 June, the Münstermann brothers and their BVB09MEX fan club set up the Academia Borussia in Valle de Bravo, a small town 150 kilometres to the west of Mexico City, then followed that up with a second site in Coyoacán a while later. That's a southern region of the capital.
What objectives does the Academia, which will be supported by the BVB foundation "leuchte auf" and our Soccer School in the future, have?
Toto Münstermann has explained it as follows: the Academia Borussia aims to offer children the opportunity to regularly play their favourite sport – football, to come into contact with BVB and to learn important social values that will help them in their lives. These are values that will help further their development and their interaction with each other.
And you experienced that first hand?
Yes, I really got a feel for all the love and passion that the staff and children have invested in this cooperation and in the implementation of the project. My first stop was in Coyoacán, where I attended Black and Yellow events and joined in theoretical and practical training with children between the ages of 4 and 18, as well as the local coaches. Furthermore, the Academia also has a team just for women, which will probably be officially recognised as Borussia's first women's football team.
Patrick, you also discovered that there is a lot of social inequality in Mexico...
Yes, a lot of things I saw moved me a lot. For example, some of the children travel three hours by foot just to take part in the training at the Academia. Once it's over, they then face another three hours to get back home. This passion and the desire to be a part of this project is simply unbelievable and is hard to put into words. It is stories such as these that make the Academia stand out. Everyone should have the opportunity to be part of the BVB family, regardless of their family background. In order to make that happen, all members and sometimes the parents of some of the participants work tirelessly, especially when it comes to children from underprivileged backgrounds.
And after that you were also in Valle de Bravo?
I learned about the „El Arbol“ social project there. It is a meeting point for children who are interested in all sorts of different things. The house gives them a place where they can be a bit boisterous and let off some steam, study, play music, dance ballet and learn about other sports. I then went to an Academia football training session together with the children from this culture centre. It took place on a meadow where cows had been grazing just a short time before.
The kids still had fun though?
Yes, they were not fussed about that at all. They went haring after some battered old thing that was hardly recognisable as a football in their old sandals, dirty T-Shirts and torn jeans. But they had loads of fun tackling hard for the ball and scoring great goals.
And the kids in Valle de Bravo had another reason to be happy.
A few more families had come from the capital with the Münstermann brothers to the province. They gave the kids football boots, kits, balls and all the other kinds of things needed by a developing footballer. The young footballers, both boy and girls, took the presents from the families with tears in their eyes, and were absolutely beaming with happiness and gratitude. I was able to give the young Mexicans their first real and original BVB training kit.
You said you found this very moving.
It seemed to me that weren't just giving the children material things, but we were really also giving them hope and motivation for the future. It was a moment that still gives me goose bumps when I think about it today.
And the Münstermanns still had another surprise ready?
Yes, they organised a large gathering with a final tournament for all the participants of the Academia from Valle de Bravo and from Cayoacán. The teams were completely mixed up, so that kids from different backgrounds, social classes and of different ages all played together. You couldn't have asked for a nicer ending.
Was there a moment that was especially touching for you?
That was on the last day of my journey. We put on a football tournament for all the kids there. An unbelievable amount of kids took part. You saw how little the people there have because of the clothes the children were wearing. A young boy wearing worn out jeans and a T-Shirt full of holes sat down next to me during the break, and offered me the food that he had bought beforehand. These people have almost nothing, and yet they are still happy to share everything. That is something we could learn from in Germany.
What now for the BVB09MEX Fanclub and the Academia Borussia?
In future they want to build up their project further and widen its scope. They are really overjoyed that Borussia Dortmund and our foundation leuchte auf are supporting them and acknowledging their great work by giving them €30,000 annually. I have never seen a project that aroused so much enthusiasm. Nonetheless, the Academia Borussia will still need assistance from other sources. I really hope that more benefactors for this fantastic social project will come forward soon. The less fortunate children of Mexico deserve it.
All information about BVB's social work can be found under: