Stäfa, Switzerland, June 6, 2019 – Sonova Holding AG, a leading provider of hearing solutions, has given its support to the founding of an inclusive soccer club. The co-founder and club president is Simon Ollert, whose hearing aids from Sonova brand Phonak have enabled him to play soccer professionally in spite of profound hearing loss. The new club will be officially unveiled on Friday, June 21, 2019 at Ettal Abbey in Bavaria during the soccer camp for children with hearing loss. Since their inception in 2016, these camps have been managed by Simon Ollert and Sonova’s Phonak brand. The official opening ceremony of the club will be held as part of a charity event for the non-profit Hear the World Foundation, which supports people in need suffering from hearing loss all over the world.
“The idea to start an inclusive soccer club grew from the success of the soccer camps we were running for children with hearing loss. It is fantastic to have Sonova on board to found this initiative. The inclusive club will be open to all soccer players whether handicapped or not and it will provide opportunities for up-and-coming players“, says Simon Ollert.
Sonova has a close collaboration with Simon Ollert. The 22-year-old has used Sonova's Phonak hearing aids from his early childhood and achieved his goal to become a professional soccer player. The Sonova Group featured Simon Ollert’s impressive story in a film that has won several international awards. As a Sonova brand ambassador, Simon Ollert supports the Hear the World Foundation and visits aid projects, for example in the Dominican Republic or Malawi, to encourage children with hearing loss to pursue their goals and dreams.
“We are delighted to again lend our support to Simon Ollert and give talented young soccer players with hearing loss the chance to realize their full potential. Our soccer camp will contribute to developing the club’s young talents. This is in line with the Sonova Group’s vision to enable everyone to live a life without limitations supported by our hearing solutions”, says Arnd Kaldowski, CEO of Sonova. According to the latest figures from a study by the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association from 2018,12.2 percent of people in Germany suffer from hearing loss. The proportion of children up to the age of 14 with hearing loss is about two percent.
Sonova will invite the press and supporters to the opening event of the inclusive soccer club, a benefit occasion for the Hear the World Foundation, on June 21, 2019 at Ettal Abbey. The guests will also include participants from the soccer camp for children with hearing loss. The entertaining program will start at 4.00pm CEST when the soccer club will officially open. After presenting the club’s name and location, its structure, soccer ethos, education concept plus sporting and social objectives, there will be time for questions and interviews with the club’s founders and supporters.
Other highlights will include appearances by Sonova brand ambassadors Tianjiao (Jiaojiao) Zhang and Jason Brügger. The famous Chinese dancer Tianjiao (Jiaojiao) Zhang and the award-winning Swiss artist Jason Brügger will display breathtaking choreographed modern dance and acrobatics routines. Both these stand-out artists have achieved success in spite of their hearing loss. There will also be a special guest appearance by world beard champion and hearing aid wearer Fritz Sendlhofer, who will prepare a regional specialty from his homeland of Austria for the guests.
About the soccer camp for children with hearing loss
Simon Ollert and Sonova's Phonak brand set up the soccer camp for children with hearing loss in 2016 to encourage the children and promote their personal development through the positive influence of soccer. During the camp, which lasts several days, the children learn ball control and soccer skills from a professional training team. They also experience fair play and team spirit and exchange stories about living with hearing loss. By engaging in sport, the participants gain self-confidence and compete with their peers, thus developing their sporting prowess and social skills. The international sports brand PUMA has been the equipment partner for the camp since 2018, providing training gear. In cooperation with STS Sport & Travel Service, the local distribution partner based in Murnau, the children are also provided sportswear. The professional outfits create optimal training conditions and support team spirit on the pitch. The camp has been attended by children from Germany as well as from other countries such as Austria, Switzerland or Russia. The children’s program “Logo!” broadcast by ZDF (German TV channel) captured the inspiring and encouraging mood during the 2018 soccer camp. Program shown here (in German)
About the Hear the World Foundation
Founded in 2006 by Sonova, a leading provider of hearing solutions, the Hear the World Foundation supports disadvantaged people with hearing loss around the world and gets involved in hearing loss prevention. The foundation focuses particularly on projects for children with hearing loss, enabling them to develop to their fullest potential. Since its establishment, the non-profit Swiss foundation has supported over 90 projects all around the world with funding, hearing aid technology and expertise. More than 100 high-profile ambassadors, such as Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Cindy Crawford, Annie Lennox, and Sting support Hear the World as ambassadors for conscious hearing.
Sonova Supports the Founding of an Inclusive Soccer Club