Wednesday 02 August 2023, 23:45

Kathrin Peter: "You can learn everything from Tina Theune"

  • Tina Theune and Kathrin Peter form a mentor and mentee duo on the FIFA Women's Coach Mentoring Programme

  • Theune won the FIFA Women's World Cup with Germany 20 years ago. Peter coaches the German U-19 / U-20 women's team

  • “It's about lifelong learning. That's also a privilege” - Theune

"I saw Kathrin at an international tournament when she was a striker, and later as a coach when she did her first coaching licence courses. I witnessed how she got everything off the ground as an association sports coach in Westphalia because of her strength of ideas and powers of persuasion. Kathrin and I have been together for a long time. She already challenged me during my work at the DFB (first as a coach and later as the person responsible for youth and elite promotion)." With these warm words, Tina Theune, who won the FIFA Women's World Cup title with Germany 20 years ago, describes her long-standing bond with Kathrin Peter. Together, they form a duo of mentor and mentee on the second edition of the FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme. The programme aims to support the development and promotion of a new generation of female coaches and to build a global network.

Tina Theune with her mentee Kathrin Peter

"From my point of view, it is of course an incredible honour to develop myself among so many prominent, internationally experienced and successful people. You just have to look at the mentors who have been recruited for this programme. The mentees are also coaches in good positions and not beginners either," Peter, who coaches the U-19 and U-20 women at the DFB, tells "The exchange that takes place there resembles a real community, where everyone helps and supports each other. It's amazing how much you can benefit from each other, especially with Tina and her experience. She stands behind me, observes and gives me feedback in a really great way. This program is something special and helps me immensely in my development.” At the same time, the long-time Bundesliga player emphasises that it is also a challenge when mentor and mentee have known each other for so long and you ask yourself: What new impulses can be given?

There is so much human richness, not only the exchange of experiences on a professional level from which one can benefit. You are guaranteed to see the world with different eyes.

Tina Theune

"I thought it was great that Tina took on the role as a mentor and is willing to continue learning, build this community and discuss these new topics. It's a whole new chapter in our collaboration. I think it's insane how Tina manages to completely engage with this new role. This programme is really valuable and I would sign up for it again and again." Peter underlined another valuable aspect of the mentoring programme: you never stop learning and broadening your horizons - no matter what age you are. "It's about lifelong learning, and that's also a privilege. I've never been as involved with football outside of when I was a DFB coach. Now, i'm very close again," added 69-year-old Theune. The pair were up close and personal at the recent workshop in Lisbon. 39 women and men from all over the world gathered at the Portuguese Football Federation's (FPF) Cidade do Futebol training centre for the second workshop in the 18-month Coach Mentorship Programme.

Tina Theune and Even Pellerud with the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy at a Trophy Tour event in Lisbon

"I found the meeting in Lisbon terrific. In the workshops you get so much inspiration from other coaches. For example, we were asked to exchange ideas in groups of three. I was in a group with Tom Sermanni, who is my age, and Vlatko Andonovski. It was so exciting what Vlatko told us. How he manages to keep building the bond with every single player in such a big country (USA). What leadership means and the dynamics behind it to bring together experienced players who are used to success with youngsters," explained Theune, who was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit in 2002 for her services to football. "What also impressed me were the presentations. Tom Sermanni, Bev Priestman, Pia Sundhage and María Ruiz de Oña, for example, gave great presentations. In Lisbon, Karl Lines (FIFA advisor for women's football,) really challenged us. We were given many vivid examples. On the subject of team spirit, he used the San José mine disaster. The 33 survivors held out there for 69 days until they were rescued."

FIFA Women's Coaches gather at the Mentorship programme workshop in Lisbon

The focus of the workshops was on reflecting, sharing and exchanging ideas, which had an impact on the participants. "It was incredibly useful because you got ideas that you could follow up on and take home with you. Peter was also particularly impressed by the great familiarity and openness that prevailed between the mentors and mentees.

"I found it invaluable, how open the exchange was, even though we didn't really know each other yet. People spoke honestly about their experiences - both positive and negative - , learned from each other and gave each other tips. There was a really trusting atmosphere right away, which impressed me totally."

Tina Theune at the FIFA Coach Mentorship programme workshop at Cidade de Futebol

You can learn everything from Tina. What I appreciate about her is that she never stops being a pioneer, a thought leader and is always well informed. She is always up to date, always one step ahead of others.

Kathrin Peter