In the final two matches against England, the 15-year-old was unstoppable. Koster, who has been playing blind football since she was nine and made her Bundesliga debut when she was 13, scored all goals in both 4-0 victories for the German team. She was then voted as the best player of the tournament and was thrilled to be interviewed by the organizers of the European Championships, the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA).
“I felt so free on the field,” Koster said. “Being a top scorer is an indescribable feeling.”
Seven St. Pauli players in the German national team
The 15-year-old was one of seven St. Pauli players in the ten German squad. In addition to Koster, Jana Marquardt, Joanna Wyman, Jenny Dabelstein, Pia Rink, Svenja Bartels (voted as EM goalkeeper) and Alyssa Rudy from the Hamburg district club were also part of national coach Wolfschmidt’s squad. The coach is also Saint Paulian. Just like Sven Gronau, Antje Küster, Julius Kolbeck and Michael Hain, who were part of the supervisory staff.
“English women have been involved in women’s blind football for a long time and they are very professional. That is why this is such a fantastic and fantastic success for us. I am very proud that we were the first women’s team to take part in this international game. Success,” Schmidt explained.
The crowdfunding campaign made participating in EM possible
Germany’s start in the European Championships in Italy was in doubt until a few weeks before the start of the tournament. Since blind football has hitherto been a men’s Paralympic sport, the German sports funding system does not provide funding for the women’s national team. In order to be able to pay the entrance fee for the European Championship (1,260 euros per person), the players started a crowdfunding campaign, which was quite successful. In addition, more funding could be created so that the start-up costs in Pescara could be covered and the trip to the Adriatic became an unforgettable experience for the team.
“It’s an amazing experience. I don’t have words to express the feelings we’re going through right now,” said Jana Marquardt, who was probably speaking from the heart of all her teammates.
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