Viktoria 1889 Berlin: Pioneers in German women's soccer

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The colors: White and blue.

The home: the Berlin district of Lichterfelde.

FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin Lichterfelde-Tempelhof e. V., or Viktoria Berlin for short, is a sports club formed on July 1, 2013 through the merger of multiple German soccer and former record champion BFC Viktoria 1889 and LFC Berlin.

In 2015, the "Himmelblauen" under the management of Peer Jaekel represented Germany's largest active soccer department with more than 1600 members in about 65 different teams. The men's first soccer team was promoted to the 3rd league for the 2021/22 season, and the women's first team has competed in the Regionalliga Nordost since the 2014/15 season.

And it's worth taking a closer look at this one.

What makes the women of Viktoria Berlin so special?

Quite simply. Since the summer of 2022, the regional league team has been managed by a female founding team of six shareholders, including two-time world champion Ariane Hingst. Thus, the Himmelblauen are starting a whole new era. Their goal? A change with a success story in German soccer.

They see themselves as their own football start-up, but also as a part of FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin. It is not only to strive for soccer success, but also for sustainable and social Female Movement, it says on their homepage. "We act entrepreneurially and rely on a strong and unique network of politics, business, culture/media and sports."

In addition to Hingst, the team also includes one of the best-known faces of the German start-up scene, investor Verena Pausder, journalist Felicia Mutterer, Katharina Kurz, the managing director of BRLO Craft Beer, Dr.Tanja Wielgoß and the multiple award-winning marketing, communications and advertising specialist, Lisa Währer. All of them soccer enthusiasts and especially interested in women's football.

"That's exactly what makes our group so exciting, this diversity, coming from all areas, really covering a lot and thus already being broadly positioned as a founding network," says Hingst.

A slightly different project

The team led by new head coach Alejandro Prieto has set itself the goal of promotion to the Bundesliga. Since the relegation of Tennis Borussia in 2010, no Berlin club has played in the women's Bundesliga. That's exactly what the ladies of Viktoria Berlin want to change now. "The sports capital of Berlin urgently needs a top female team. Us."

The purpose of the project is also to make more idols from women's soccer visible and to inspire young girls and women. Values such as diversity, inclusion, sustainability, self-confidence and also equal opportunities and equality are absolutely paramount for the Himmelblauen and are to be actively lived as well as communicated.

"So the most important thing is and as a core statement you can certainly say: we want to create the brand Viktoria women's soccer. And go a bit different ways there. There it is about the topic 'Equal Pay', whereby, please do not misunderstand, we are not of the opinion that the women must now earn millions. I think that's absolutely unhealthy in soccer, by the way. But it is primarily about equal opportunities, about investment in women's soccer, to give players the opportunity to play at the highest level and really be professional athletes," it was said by those responsible.

The issue of equal pay in women's and men's soccer has been discussed for a long time, especially since the world-class performances of European teams during the European Championship in England. In the USA, women have been receiving the same share of the association's income as men since this year.

The "Angels" as role models

Angel City FC from the USA is a club by women for women and is the role model for Berlin. This was founded in 2020 by a group of prominent women. This includes none other than Natalie Portman, as the initiator, but also well-known actresses such as Jennifer Garner, as well as sports stars such as tennis pro Serena Williams and former ski racer Lindsey Vonn.

"We thought, 'Why shouldn't we be the ones leading by example for the changes we want to see? - Eva Longoria, actress and co-owner of Angel City FC

Still, you can't compare American soccer to German soccer in every way. In America, the women enjoy much more turnover than the men, and so it is justified there that the women are paid the same as the men. However, we are still a long way from this situation in Germany.

However, women who play in the regional league, which is similar to the third league in the men's sector, do not get any money at all, but even have to pay for their membership. In the future, the female players from Berlin should at least be provided with contracts so that they are at least insured through the employers' liability insurance association.

"That's a big issue, too. You play sports at a high level, and if something happens to you, you're not even insured for some services," Kurz said.

The plans are bold, but concrete. Because while Angel City FC from Los Angeles has bought a license and can thus directly enter the highest division, the players of Viktoria must first "still" fight their way up from the regional league. "There we are much more regulated in Germany," Kurz says. "And if we had really started from scratch now, we would have had to start in the Kreisklasse." So they looked for a club that was already playing in a higher division, had the necessary structures and was keen on the idea, and took it over.

"The present is female"

With the new season started now already the cooperation, also with the new head coach Aleksandro Pierto. In the next 4 to 5 years, the club wants to play itself into the high Bundesliga.

For this, however, the structures and conditions for the players still need to be improved. At the moment, the team is still training on three different courts. Nevertheless, the shareholders are certain:

Great things are possible with this club!

But one thing is definitely certain. Under the motto "The present is female", the Berlin girls are embarking on an exciting journey and we are excited to see what the future will bring them.

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