Regrettably, Girls in Football Still Face Unchanged Challenges.

PUMA CEO Arne Freundt and Alexandra Popp, Germany’s National Football Team Captain, Discuss Women’s Challenges in Football”

PUMA CEO Arne Freundt and Alexandra Popp, captain of the Germany national football team, delve into leadership and the obstacles faced by women in football in a video interview released as part of the sports company’s digital annual report on about.puma.com on March 18.

Alexandra, honored thrice as Germany’s footballer of the year, stands as a prominent advocate for women’s football, recognized for her skill and charismatic leadership on the field. Reflecting on her journey, she recalls the disparaging treatment girls endured in football, particularly from opposing teams, citing instances of belittlement and unfair treatment.

“Football remains a challenging terrain for girls,” Alexandra reflects. “Despite supportive teammates, the opposition often resorted to ridicule and unfair play, with parents sometimes cheering on such behavior.”

Arne acknowledges Alexandra’s story as a poignant reminder of the ongoing need for gender equality in football. “Your narrative is profoundly inspiring and underscores the significant strides we must take to level the playing field,” he shares on his LinkedIn channel. “As a sports company, we are fully committed to empowering trailblazers like you, disproving skeptics and fostering inclusivity.”

Despite the hurdles she faced as a youth player, Alexandra views those experiences as integral to developing the resilience needed for her successful career. “I understand those who choose a different path,” she says. “Yet, those challenges shaped my character and mentality, contributing to who I am today on the pitch.”

Transitioning to leadership, Alexandra acknowledges the learning curve she encountered when assuming the role of team captain. “It took time to grow into the position, particularly in terms of communication,” she admits. “I had to adapt my approach, realizing that what worked for me as a player might not resonate with everyone.”

Arne, assuming the role of PUMA CEO in 2022, shares his enjoyment of leadership and nurturing talent. “Leading and developing a team, witnessing their growth and impact, is immensely fulfilling,” he remarks.

Offering advice to aspiring CEOs, Arne emphasizes the importance of passion. “Pursue what truly inspires you, what propels you forward,” he advises. “Passion is the driving force behind success.”

As Alexandra prepares to lead Germany at the Olympic Football Tournament in Paris, her journey stands as a testament to resilience, leadership, and the ongoing pursuit of gender equality in football.

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