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First international soccer camp for children with hearing loss

Phonak has joined Bundesliga youth team player Simon Ollert in inviting soccer-mad children with hearing loss from a variety of countries to a three-day training camp in Germany. Their goal is to help children with hearing loss make progress in their personal development.

Phonak has joined Bundesliga youth team player Simon Ollert in inviting soccer-mad children with hearing loss from a variety of countries to a three-day training camp in Germany. Their goal is to help children with hearing loss make progress in their personal development.

The Simon Ollert Camp set up by Phonak is all about enabling young people to develop self-confidence and courage in a playful context by learning to dribble, pass, and score goals. Fifteen boys and five girls from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland traveled to Ettal, Bavaria, along with one of their parents to attend the first international soccer camp for children suffering from hearing loss held August 19–21, 2016. 

The children were trained by the team that supports Simon Ollert, the only soccer professional with profound hearing loss in any of the German-speaking countries. A film about Simon’s life has just won an award, and his idea for this first international soccer camp for children with hearing loss represents the next step in his successful partnership with Sonova’s Phonak brand.


My story shows just what you can achieve despite hearing loss. Ever since I can remember, I have dreamt of being a professional soccer player. My Phonak hearing aids spurred my ambitions and have helped me live a life without limits. It’s wonderful that Phonak are now also helping me make my first soccer camp a reality – it means we can give children a leg up so they too can follow their dream in life with the same determination.

Simon Ollert, Bundesliga youth team player


The young people’s participation was organized in close cooperation with leading pediatric hearing care professionals. Another partner, the innovative sports apparel brand Under Armour, kitted all of the summer camp participants out with shirts, trousers, and bags.

Developing self-confidence and courage in a playful context

The kids enjoyed a varied training program, with ball control and many other soccer skills on the menu. The event gave the youngsters an opportunity to test themselves against others in a team and so develop self-confidence and courage in a playful atmosphere. Participants began striking up friendships right after registration as they were given their sports kit and assigned rooms in the Ettal Abbey’s youth hostel.

Team night with a surprise

An exciting schedule of supplementary activities gave the children the opportunity to quiz Simon Ollert on his life as a professional soccer player. After a first foray onto the soccer field, where the youngsters had a chance to get to know one another, participants and their parents attended a team night that kicked off with the award-winning video about Simon Ollert’s life. Former soccer pro, Christian Nerlinger, then regaled participants with stories about his adventures on the pitch before unveiling the big surprise of the night: video messages from German national soccer team members Jérôme Boateng and Jonathan Tah sending greetings and wishing everyone a good time at camp.


Hi Simon! I think your camp is fantastic. I hope you have a lot of fun with the youngsters and that they enjoy themselves at camp. Always believe in yourselves.

Jérôme Boateng, member of the German national soccer team


After Boateng’s message, Christiane Schubert, a pediatric audiology expert from Phonak, led the children and their parents in a quiz all about hearing and hearing loss. Christiane Schubert was on hand to advise parents and children for the duration of the soccer camp, answering questions and giving valuable “life hacks” for hearing aid handling in the context of school, sport, and leisure. To round off the first evening, Simon Ollert described how he became a soccer pro in a talk that was emotional, candid, and inspiring.


Creating hearing solutions that are right for children is one of our core competencies. So the Simon Ollert football camp is a perfect fit for Phonak and for our mission to use hearing solutions to effect positive changes in people’s lives. The camp helps children make great strides in their emotional and social development. We are extremely proud of Simon and we are delighted to be supporting him in bringing this fantastic idea to fruition.

Martin Grieder, Group Vice President Hearing Instruments Marketing


Intensive training in small groups – and comparing notes

The next day’s varied program was dominated by intensive training sessions in small groups – a challenge the youngsters tackled with verve. In the meantime, parents had the chance to tap the expertise of Phonak’s Christiane Schubert.

In the late afternoon, while their parents took in a tour of the abbey, camp participants spent time with Simon Ollert and shared stories about their experiences of living with a hearing impairment.  The day concluded with a barbecue in the courtyard of Ettal Abbey.


The Simon Ollert Soccer Camp organized in conjunction with Phonak shows just how much one can achieve despite hearing loss.


Highlight of the camp

The crowning event – a game against one of JSG Ammertal’s youth teams – took place on the final day of camp. Camp participants trained hard together one last time in the run-up to the game. One final surprise was revealed just before the long-awaited game as a coach and two players from FC Ingolstadt's Under 19 Bundesliga team stopped by to show the youngsters a few pro tricks.

After the hard-fought game, during which the fifteen boys and five girls demonstrated true team spirit, it was clear to everyone that the 2016 Simon Ollert Camp had taught them more than just ball control and a range of other technical skills. More than anything, it had boosted their self-confidence and strengthened their belief in their own abilities.


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