IN CONVERSATION WITH SARA DOORSOUN

vor 2 weeks

In 2024, the whole world will look to Germany when soccer becomes the talk of the town. For Zalando, this year presents a unique opportunity to connect with European soccer fans and create an unforgettable event that will leave a lasting impression across the region.

In many cities, soccer fans come together to celebrate the game, but there are also humble places where great soccer stories begin. Zalando is shining a spotlight on the different communities that shape soccer culture in Germany by bringing the action right to their doorsteps. In Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, they are organizing an eye-catching tournament series that celebrates the authentic sporting moments that unite our communities. We have the pleasure of speaking to Sara Doorsoun, a true German soccer powerhouse and professional at Eintracht Frankfurt. The two-time German champion started playing soccer at the age of three, inspired by her brother, and joined her first club at the age of eight. But her bubbly personality and easy-going nature should not detract from her dominance on the pitch. Sara Doorsoun represents a diverse perspective of soccer and is a positive representation of soccer culture. Her career and dedication to the sport make her an outstanding individual who embodies the passion and community spirit of soccer in Germany.

Fräulein: You started playing soccer at the tender age of three. What made you choose this sport and how has your relationship with it developed over the years?
Sara Doorsoun: I started playing soccer when I was three. And playing soccer gave me an incredible amount of self-confidence, to face everything, to show that even when things are hard or things hurt, to keep going, not to give up, to fight, to be strong. And for me, I somehow never chose soccer. It’s always been in my life and it was just that as a child I was only seen with the ball. That’s why I wouldn’t say I chose soccer, but we came together naturally.

As a professional player, you have certainly experienced many highs and lows. What moments or experiences have shaped you the most and why?
I have experienced many highs and lows as a footballer. There were a lot of highs in reaching the European Championship final, but also losing the final at the same time. You’re incredibly grateful to have made it this far, but when you’re in the final, you want to win. At the same time, you say that you’re the European Championship runner-up and that will never be taken away from you. I was in the women’s Champions League final, but unfortunately I injured my knee after 35 minutes. It turned out, thank God, that it wasn’t a cruciate ligament rupture, just a torn medial collateral ligament. Even at that moment, I was very sad at first, but then very relieved at the same time. The hardest time for me in sport was at the end of Wolfsburg. Mentally, you always have to function. I simply got to a point where it was very difficult for me to function, and that’s why I said I’d get out of my comfort zone, move away from Wolfsburg and take a new step in Frankfurt. And that was the best thing I could have done.

Can you share something about your personal experience with Zalando as a partner for the Zalando Tournament and how this collaboration has helped to strengthen and support the local soccer community in Frankfurt?
My personal experience with Zalando as a partner for the tournament is simply that, a very strong partner, a very big brand is organizing this tournament with Zalando. It’s not just soccer, it’s also lifestyle. And these two things combined are simply enormously strong. And the fact that Zalando is also organizing a soccer tournament shows how big the brand is, because it’s not a brand like just Nike, just Adidas. So it’s not just about soccer, it’s a really big area, also in terms of lifestyle. And the fact that Zalando is now organizing something like this in Frankfurt attracts a lot of people, a, because they like soccer and b, because of the lifestyle component.

How important do you think it is for big brands like Zalando to get involved in promoting soccer and supporting local clubs?
Question number four is similar to question number three. Zalando simply has a reach, has the means to equip, has the means to support clubs financially. It’s not a small brand. And the name stands for something. And that is simply
totally appealing and really cool to see that Zalando as a brand is behind a club or behind soccer that it supports.

What role do you personally play in the Zalando tournament, how does it feel to be part of an event that focuses on the local soccer community and fans, and what do you want to convey to them?
For me, it was always the case that soccer gave me a lot of freedom and that fashion gave me a lot of freedom. I remember when I was a little girl, I always dressed like a little boy and didn’t want to wear girls’ clothes, but I always felt very strong in what I wore. And fashion has also given me a lot of self-confidence. I wear what I feel comfortable in. I wear what I like and I don’t allow myself to be pigeonholed. It’s simply a way of expressing your character and showing your personality. You can play with fashion so much and these two things, fashion and soccer, are simply the most important aspects for me. And that’s why I can identify with it 100 percent. With the tournament, with the community, with the fans and with the collaboration between Zalando and soccer.

You are a positive representation of soccer culture and represent a diverse perspective of the sport. What message do you want to convey to young girls and women who dream of playing soccer at a high level?
At the end of the day, you should always enjoy what you do. Above all, you should never let anyone tell you that you can’t or can’t do something. I remember my times, so I would have always listened to that. What others tell me, I don’t think I would have become a professional soccer player. If you have the dream, you have to hold on to it very tightly, never let it go, give it your all, come home and say I’ve really done everything. You also have to make sacrifices here and there. But in the end, I can truly say that it was totally worth it for me to hold on to this dream. It was worth it to have a mind of my own and not always just listen to others. And it was worth sticking with it. I have turned my biggest hobby into a career and for me there is simply nothing better. So have fun with everything you do and be self-confident and don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t or shouldn’t do.

How does the atmosphere and energy of the fans affect your performance on the pitch, especially at big tournaments and events?
The energy and atmosphere in stadiums is really tremendous, especially at home or away games. I remember our European Championship final at Wembley with 90,000 spectators. I think it was ten percent for Germany and 90 percent for England. And it was such a cauldron. You couldn’t hear yourself, you couldn’t hear your teammate. It really was just madness what was going on there. A coach always says that the quieter the opposing fans are, the more you do right. And in this case, we wanted to try and mute the 90,000 spectators, or in this case all the English fans, so that they were quiet because we were playing such good soccer. But it’s really crazy and just cool to soak it all up, the atmosphere, the volume. And that’s exactly what we want to play in front of a crowd like that.

How do you prepare for such events, both physically and mentally?
I always prepare myself mentally by going through my routines and telling myself not to do anything special. The hardest thing is always to do the easiest thing. Nobody expects you to play the dream pass. Nobody expects you not to make mistakes, so you’re allowed to make mistakes in the game and these are processes that I keep repeating in my head, talking to myself, talking to myself a bit and just saying, always 100% and no matter what happens on the pitch, you can always react somehow. And that always helps me to prepare before the events. But at the same time, I don’t drive myself crazy and I don’t just think about soccer all the time, I also do other things beforehand that have nothing to do with soccer so that I don’t get too over-involved.

What are your hopes and expectations for the future of women’s soccer, both in Germany and globally?
My hopes and expectations for women’s soccer in Germany and worldwide are that we simply get better and better infrastructure and conditions for training and games for the professionals and of course the youth, that we continue to get the big stage that we deserve. If you give us the stage, you can see that we can fill it, that more and more people who are critical of women’s soccer are thinking, boah, cool, you have made such a big development during the last years, that women’s soccer simply deserves more respect and not always just these stupid comments

Finally, what long-term impact do you think the collaboration between Zalando and the soccer community will have, particularly in terms of promoting the sport and strengthening local communities?
As I said, Zalando is a really big brand and a strong partner. I believe that the interest in lifestyle, clothes and soccer, is very important in many people’s lives. So by connecting all these parts together in several events, will built a new community, that is inspiring each other. The more people are moving, more people will support, help and give a community a lot of power, no matter where you come from, no matter what you do. It doesn’t matter at all. It’s just this love of the sport that counts. I am glad that Zalando is doing this step. 

 

Interview by JULIA PIETSCH

Images / Milena Zara

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