Mixing Soccer with Foreign Languages

In time for the Soccer World Cup in South Africa, one of England’s most famous soccer teams, Arsenal (London), is trying to use soccer to encourage students to learn foreign languages.  According to its website (Arsenal.com), the team “uses football (British term for soccer) and Arsenal related resources to raise interest and attainment levels in school subjects [like foreign languages] in the classroom which is followed by football coaching sessions.”  On June 22 more than 250 students from the United Kingdom of German, French, Spanish and Portuguese backgrounds, took part in the filming of a multi-lingual music video.  I doubt if American sports like baseball would ever consider a similar plan even though they have players from Japan, Latin America and the Caribbean.  Maybe the upcoming Olympic games will renew interest in foreign languages here?

Anyways, here’s the article from http://www.arsenal.com/news/community-news/arsenal-double-club-on-song-for-world-cup:

To celebrate nations uniting for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, over 250 UK students of German, French, Spanish and Portuguese descended on Emirates Stadium on 22 June to take part in the filming of a multi-lingual music video. The song ‘Get the ball rolling’ will be performed and sung by students who are all participants of the Arsenal Double Club – a multi award-winning project founded by Arsenal that combines learning with football.

The Arsenal Double Club education initiative has its roots in the ‘double’ winning season of 1998 when Arsenal in the Community piloted a scheme which fused football with learning.  The Arsenal Double Club uses football and Arsenal related resources to raise interest and attainment levels in school subjects in the classroom which is followed by football coaching sessions.  The scheme has gone from strength to strength for over a decade and incorporates a wide variety of subjects including modern foreign languages.

Head of Arsenal in the Community, Alan Sefton said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring young people together and celebrate this year’s tournament and encourage their language learning through football which is the aim of the Arsenal Double Club.”

‘Get the ball rolling’ has been written by the Berlin musician Mark Scheibe as an anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and is a flagship event of the ‘Think German’ campaign: a year long celebration of the German language and culture spearheaded by the German Embassy, Goethe-Institut London, UKGerman Connection and DAAD. The song contains verses in all the Double Club languages: English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The five traditional languages of the South African national anthem are also represented in the song.

The song will be available on the Goethe-Institut London’s website http://www.goethe.de/london from June 11th to coincide with the launch of the tournament.

Since the Double Club’s launch, the inspirational project has been hugely successful. Having won the 2008

European Award for Languages, the Double Club will also receive a special prize this June from CILT for its outstanding contribution to language learning. The project has also been adopted by the French, Spanish and Portuguese cultural institutes. With the numbers of pupils taking part rising to almost 5000 students across the country, many other clubs, including Chelsea Football Club have also developed their own Double Clubs.  Students from the Chelsea, Fulham and Ipswich programmes also taking part in this event.

With the Olympic games fast approaching, the success of the multi-lingual Double Club project provides schools and the wider languages community with extra impetus to bring sport and languages closer together and make a high profile, concerted push for the promotion of language learning over the years to come.

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