Tearing down walls together

On Tuesday (28th May 2019), Hertha visited Carr Intermediate School in Santa Ana, where they were welcomed by a group of excited children—and left behind a clear message.

Santa Ana – The students of Carr Intermediate School, located 70 kilometres southeast of Los Angeles, prepared a big surprise ahead of Hertha’s visit to the middle school on Tuesday (28th May 2019). The students, all between the ages of 11 and 14, presented the players with handmade shin pads with the #TearDownWalls logo on them. Each of the students wore T-shirts with the Berlin bear and the tour message printed on them. A nice, welcoming gesture that showed how much the students, teachers, and volunteers had been looking forward to the visit.

It was a warm welcome all around on this sunny morning in Southern California. “We feel honoured that Hertha BSC have come to visit us. The players and staff are proof to our students that they can achieve whatever they want if they remain confident and disciplined, but also have fun with what they are doing—regardless of whether it’s in sport or their education,” said school director José Luis Pedroza. Paul Keuter also thanked the students for the warm welcome. “We’re very happy to have the chance to visit with the Hispanic community here during our trip. The people here would be directly impacted if a wall were built. It’s important to overcome your own prejudices. Thirty years ago, the US helped us, and now we want to make a statement here today that we aren’t fans of building walls—whether they are real or imagined,” said Keuter.”For the students, it’s a cool experience getting to meet professionals like Salomon Kalou. It was a big motivation for them,” said Jonathan Klinsmann, who took the opportunity to visit his former teammates in his home country. “I went to school in this area, so it’s a bit unreal for me to be able to show the boys around where I grew up,” said the goalkeeper, who will leave Hertha this summer after two years with the club.

Football continues to show its ability to fight against prejudice, racism, and discrimination, and to foster connections. After a lengthy autograph session and a gift exchange, Salomon Kalou, Marvin Plattenhardt and the rest of the players took to the field with the students. Ten different stations were set up where the young footballers were able to practice passing, finishing, keep-ups, or take their turn between the posts. “It was great fun to see how eager the kids were to take part. They really gave it their all, and we had a good time,” said Niklas Stark. After the 90-minute session, the players and students celebrated together, cracked a few jokes, and most importantly, left behind a sea of smiling faces. All those involved definitely deserved the Latin American barbecue that ended the day.

Teams, 29.05.2019