9th January 2014 was the 150th anniversary of the first official game of football to FA rules. On that day, The Ball 2014 kicked off from Battersea Park in London, where that game was played, and travelled across Europe and the Americas to the World Cup in Brazil.
Andrew has football running through his veins. He played for New Zealand, the University of Notre Dame in the US and Rot–Weiss Erfurt in Germany. In 2002, he attended the the first FIFA World Cup in Asia. In 2005, he interned with the German World Cup Organising Committee, graduated with a Master of Public Policy from the Erfurt School of Public Policy and founded Spirit of Football Germany.
Fernando has always been involved with football - he played in youth teams in Brazil and then professionally in the U.S for San Fernando Valley Eagles. He coached in Southern California, working with adolescents and Afshin Ghotbi (formerly U.S. and South Korea assistant coach and Iran head coach). He graduated in Engineering (Brazil) and Administration (UCLA) and currently works with technology and founded Spirit of Football Brazil.
Born and raised in the green heart of Germany, Sven's journeys have taken him throughout Europe. "Football is more than a 1:0, it is a common layer of global society." Sven is a "groundhopper" -- everywhere he goes, he visits the local stadium. He graduated in Media, Business and Journalism and finished his Masters in European Studies in 2012. After working as an online editor he travelled to New Zealand. Now back in Erfurt, Germany he is working for the non–profit association Spirit of Football e.V.
Christian travelled to more than 50 countries following his passion for street theatre, programme–making and storytelling. He has worked in Asia, Australasia, Polynesia and America. His travels included an audience with the Dalai Lama, experiencing the reunification of Germany, escaping unharmed from the Thai maﬁa and living with tribal people in the rainforests of Sumatra.
Convinced of the unique power that football has to connect people throughout the world, Phil co–founded Spirit of Football. When he’s not restoring furniture, Phil can be found developing musicianship on drums, playing acoustic guitar and singing. Phil is also skilled in circus arts, including juggling, acrobatics and sleight–of–hand magic.
Richard has been a passionate supporter of The Ball since its inception. After the 1998 France World Cup, he suggested that Phil and Christian meet him in Afghanistan in 2002 and that they all travel to Korea & Japan from there. He has worked in Humanitarian Emergency Response for over 20 years. Countries have included North Korea, Burundi, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Yemen and more recently as a Regional Humanitarian Director for the Middle East which included the Syria crisis. Many of these countries The Ball has also visited.