This is my second day in Frankfurt for the 2011 Women’s Football Symposium (which begins tomorrow) and Women’s World Cup Final (on Sunday). It’s been pretty low key so far and has given me a chance to catch up on time zones and mingle about.
Now I know I don’t have the on-camera eloquence of my friend Emma Hayes (who called the game for Eurosport last night in England), or the TV personality of Fox Soccer Channel’s Mark Rogondino (who used to do all the WPS broadcasts and is now on the MLS tour of duty), so getting ready for my video intro this morning put me to task. In 30 seconds, tell the delegates why you’re here, they said. Haha… wait, what? On video? Can’t I just tweet them? I’m sure I can get it into 140 characters.
Well in the end I think I did okay, they got a decent sound bite, and we move on. Reminder to self: #dontsweatthesmallstuff
I spent the afternoon having lunch with Alex Stone, FIFA’s Media Relations Manager and my gracious host, and talking with my fellow panelist Velile Mbuli from South Africa. I also met Carol Manana, the moderator for the event, and even learned to speak a little Zulu – sawubona (hello) and kunjani (how are you). That’s about as far as my dense American tongue could get me without much practice. Usala kahle (stay well/goodbye) will take me some time, but I’ll get it :)
Speaking of languages, since I’ve been here I dusted off a bit of Spanish, which I’ve come to realize isn’t so bad – I did have 10 years of schooling after all. And I’ve gotten my German on a couple times too. English is far and away the most common language being spoken here though, so I haven’t had any troubles chatting away.
Apparently on Saturday, our panel discussion will be translated into German, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Spanish. Very cool! Reminder to self: #talklikeaprofessionalnotasoccercoach (Ryan Knapp will appreciate that reference from our NSCAA presentation about coaches and social media at the convention back in January, when I referred to column A of an excel spreadsheet as the left flank.)
This evening I’m headed to dinner and drinks with all the other folks from our panel, and I’m excited to get to know them better. If you haven’t downloaded the program yet, here’s the link on FIFA.com: http://bit.ly/pWHdlF. Note that the PDF of the schedule is on the right. To be in a room with so many bright minds, with such different backgrounds and experiences, is just incredible.
More to follow from Germany in the days ahead. I’ll be sure to update as often as possible, and if you’re on twitter, follow along with us during the Symposium with hashtag #wfs2011.
I’ll leave you with this photo I just snapped in the main hall: The FIFA Women’s Football Symposium in set-up mode.