Rising stars from FC Bayern Munich's second team have supported the club's efforts to help its local community by attending a session with One Team, Euroleague Basketball's social responsibility program.
This season Bayern is working with a new social partner, Offene Behindertenarbeit München, a Munich institution which has different cultural and educational offers for people with mental disabilities.
Bayern's One Team group consists of 28 people with different forms of intellectual disability. The social issue being addressed by the German giant is disability equality. With this program, Bayern is trying to make a contribution to inclusion and allow people to feel part of the community, boosting their self-esteem.
The participants are aged between 18 and 67, with most of the group around 30 years old. Sessions are taking place once a week from January to June, lasting 90 minutes each. The most recent session at the Audi Dome was joined by second-team players Amar Gegic and Georg Beyschlag, who were invited to attend by Alex King, the club's One Team Ambassador, and also by many of their teammates who spontaneously decided to join in after their practice!
The One Team participants, who will take part in the Special Olympics in May, started by watching the second team's practice, before taking part in drills together and getting technical tips and advice from the Bayern players, who then posed for photos and signed autographs – as well as inviting the group to attend their next home games.
The One Team participants were very excited after the practice. Nadja, one of the group members, explained: "This was one of the best days ever. We received t-shirts, had the opportunity to practice with the team, and even got tickets for their next games! We already played here in a half-time break in the past, but to have the whole Audi Dome only for ourselves is something completely different."
Second team star Beyschlag said: "It was great to be with One Team. We did some drills together, took pictures and had some conversations. Everybody had fun and it was nice to see each of them smile. This whole project is a great thing to unite people. All because of sport – that's nice to experience!"
One of his teammates who joined the practice, Luca Burkardt, added: "It was a great experience to do a training session with such open-minded and motivated people. Not only the training itself, but also the ensuing conversations, which were a perfect opportunity to compare notes with each other and were instructive for everyone."
The targets of every One Team session at Bayern is building social and life skills, fun, organized sport, fitness and self-confidence, and the group's participation at the Special Olympics in May provides a defined sporting aim to focus on.
One Team, supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, uses basketball to achieve meaningful social impact in our communities across Europe and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup.
Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 14,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.