Spirit of Football is a not–for–proﬁt Community Interest Company registered in the UK. The aim of the company is to establish the legend of The Ball by organising and making the journeys of The Ball from England to the World Cup, for as long as there is a World Cup. The initiative brings attention to the community of diverse projects working in places along The Ball’s route and emphasizes the role football can play in social change and development. By creating a shared experience and encouraging links between the wider global football community, The Ball adds value to existing organisations as well as to football itself
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.
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 e.V.
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.
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.
Richard was a key figure in the history of The Ball. 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 for Concern Worldwide, the Norwegian Refugee Council and predominantly for CARE International. Countries have included North Korea, Burundi, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Yemen and most recently as a Regional Humanitarian Director for the Middle East and North Africa based in Jordan, which includes the Syria crisis. Many of these countries The Ball has also visited.
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.