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University of Copenhagen
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Social lessons from football: A just-for-fun manifesto

It is just amateur soccer, but Şafak reckons that important lessons can be learned from the pitch

My name is Safak and I’m an Erasmus student at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen with my exchange coming to an end in about a month.

I am going to tell you a story about an amateur football group some friends and I created after I arrived in Copenhagen. It is a story of socializing, having fun, making friends in a new country, and the love for football.

Back at the University of Heidelberg, my home university, I made football events via social networks, which were joined mostly by Erasmus students at my dorm but expanded to anyone who was interested. This way many friendships were created and we used to hang out after the games. The open-mindedness and enthusiasm I encountered among the Erasmus and exchange students contributed to me applying for my stay in Copenhagen.

From a dozen to a hundred

Now at Bispebjerg Kollegiet in Copenhagen we have a small pitch directly in front of our dorm.

I wanted to try out the same concept like back in Heidelberg. It was amazing how we had enough players from the first day on – a Danish friend told me it was hard for him to organize something before at all.

… and here is the point of all this, it can be applied to every club, in every sport, every activity, every social event that you can think up on this planet

The interest was so high that after 1-2 games we created our group ‘FC Bispebjürgen Klopp’, a combination of Bispebjerg and Jürgen Klopp, Borussia Dortmunds former beloved trainer. Our facebook group was created by Justin, a Scottish chemistry student at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH).

From a dozen members and one administrator in our group we expanded to over 100 members and five administrators, two of them Danish students and the other three with international backgrounds. We even arrived at a point where we can play twice a week, with sometimes too many people attending.

FC Bispebjürgen Klopp playing at Bispebjerg

So what is so special about FC Bispebjürgen Klopp? Well, we created a just-for-fun-manifesto that will explain why.

You see, and here is the point of all this, with small modifications it can be applied to every club, in every sport, every activity, every social event that you can think up on this planet. Here are the ten points in our manifesto.

1. We play even if it rains or snows
2. We are always open for new players
3. We specifically call upon, encourage and invite passers by to join our game if people are needed
4. We do not look upon the age and skills (and so on) of our players
5. We treat each other respectfully
6. We play for the enjoyment of it
7. We strive to be reliable
8. We want to strengthen intercultural exchange and solidarity through football
9. We want to prosper as a group

And for us specifically:

10. Our home field is the small pitch next to Bispebjerg Kollegiet.

We have achieved something small, something good

I reckon that any truely social club whatever, for any activity, can use this manifesto with the exception of point 10.

For me Bispebjürgen is the embodiment of an exchange: we have people from all nations, we respect each other, we do social activities apart from football, we make students feel welcome and not lonely in a new country that has a very different culture like Denmark. Especially at the beginning of studying apart there is the danger of alienation and loneliness, which can be overcome by student initiatives like this one.

Why do I write to the University Post about us? Well, out of a simple reason. My studies in Denmark are nearly finished and I will return to Germany, but I believe in the concept of our football group and think we have achieved something small, but something good with Bispebjürgen.

This is a small story and an example to other UCPH students – Danish and international. Make the best out of your stay here in Copenhagen and at this university. Pass this on, and take the initiative!

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