Without the support and commitment of volunteers, major sporting events like the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011™ would simply not be possible. Offering help and advice to fans, showing them to their seats, providing media representatives with important information and welcoming international guests at the airport, volunteers are the heartbeat of the tournament, shaping its image with their helpful and friendly manner.
Around 4,000 volunteers were required for Germany 2011. Two of them are Clare Seymore (24) from Cape Town and Tobias Wandinger (29) from Munich. Both had already volunteered at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa and were determined not to miss the opportunity to be involved at the women's edition in Germany.
"I worked at the Confederations Cup in Hospitality and at the final draw," Clare explained to FIFA.com. "I was there to greet all the guests at the airport. Then at the World Cup I had two jobs, at the Fan Fest and in the VIP suites at the stadium. That was fantastic. The atmosphere was completely euphoric. That's what motivated me to come here in the first place. There's nothing like being part of the World Cup. Even though the Women’s World Cup isn't as big as the men’s, it's the same kind of atmosphere."
All good things come in threes
Tobias is also something of a regular in the volunteer 'business'. "I was at the 2006 World Cup in Munich, then at EURO 2008 and logically – all good things come in threes – I wanted to be there in South Africa in 2010 as well. I applied for Johannesburg and I was taken on in Language Support. I explained to fans whose English wasn't very strong where they had to go and so forth," he said.
At Germany 2011, Tobias is helping in Transportation. "I actually never had anything to do with women's football until I saw the Women's German Cup final in Berlin and thought to myself: 'Man, they're not bad, I quite like this'. Unfortunately Germany went out [of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011] far too early, but that won't affect the great atmosphere here."
Clare has made countless new friends at Germany 2011 and is hugely enthusiastic about the host nation, even if she was a little nervous at first. "I heard about the possibility of applying to be a volunteer for the Women's World Cup directly after the World Cup in South Africa," said the likeable South African. "I wasn't sure if I should make the journey. It was my first trip outside South Africa and not speaking the language can be a bit intimidating." Commendably, she has been working hard to learn German since February.
Great people, plenty of greenery
"My volunteer team is great. They're some of the nicest people I've ever worked with. I'll definitely stay in touch with some of them. The city is so green, I really can't get over how green it is here."
Tobias found South Africa similarly charming last year: "It's a wonderful country. The people are warm and friendly. As a normal tourist it can be hard to get to know the local, poorer people, but it was relatively easy for us volunteers because the Soccer City stadium was right next to Soweto, and there are lots of poor townships nearby. The people live in very poor conditions, but they really got involved and were always motivated."
Both have already declared their interest in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, as well as the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. "I'll definitely be applying for 2014, but before that there's another EURO. Canada is another beautiful country," said the enthusiastic Tobias