Soccer team in a huddle

Scoring Beyond the Pitch with Coding Skills

July 22, 2016 by Corinna Machmeier

Coding and corner kicks changing the game for underprivileged youth by offering chances and spreading passion for IT: This was the KickApp Cup Season 2015/2016.

Football summer in France: Portugal, the freshly crowned European Champion, is not the only team celebrating a victory. Teams from Brazil, India, Israel, Hungary, Germany, and the U.S. also got to experience what it feels like to be a winner.

The teams qualified for the KickApp Cup final taking place in Heidelberg and Lyon. The competition is an SAP Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that began a year ago. Six SAP development locations across the globe hosted the event, which was welcomed everywhere with great enthusiasm.

Engaging with Young People, Supporting Social Initiatives

How was this achieved? Take 180 highly motivated SAP developers and design thinking coaches, give them one vision in the form of a hackathon challenge, and provide a strong partner. The challenge: create an app that will help NGOs Run Simple and effectively.

SAP’s partner for the competition was streetfootballworld, an NGO whose mission is to reach out to underprivileged children, youth, and young adults by using football as uniting force and as a tool to drive social change. The umbrella organization combines more than 110 local football4good organizations across the globe to stay close to the young people they want to help.

Motivation for a Lifetime

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Exchange between the teams Brazil and Hungary.

The KickApp Cups attracted a total of 180 young participants who worked closely with SAP employees. They code together, have fun, celebrate, and play football.

Realizing that they can contribute to the creation of an app prototype in just a short period of time is a unique experience for the participants. “I can tell children and teenagers at home about my encounters and experiences at the KickApp Cup and motivate them to keep going. Everyone has a chance,” Flavio Souza from Brazil said.

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At KickApp Cup, there are no days without football.

For him, and most of the other young participants, the trip to Heidelberg and Lyon was their first time ever abroad. 21-year-old Flavio started working at the age of nine to help provide for his parents and younger siblings because they could not provide for themselves. Despite the night shifts he spent on construction sites to earn money, he graduated with the best grades in his entire class.

Today, Flavio is a coach at the organization that supported him well when he was a child: Fundação EPROCAD. “Education is very important. And if you have aspirations, or a fixed career goal, then you won’t give up easily,” he says wisely.

For design thinking coach Bárbara Reis, the KickApp Cup was her first social project at SAP. She studied IT Management for Business and now works in SAP Partner Service Delivery. “It’s astonishing how fast the groups mingle and people create new contacts. Football really is the passion that connects us all. And even better, the young people simultaneously learn about the opportunities IT can offer them. It’s such an invaluable experience!” she says.

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Flavio Souza and Bárbara Reis at the Design Thinking workshop

Bárbara remained in close contact with the young KickApp Cup 2015 participants in Brazil, so her words come from her heart as she speaks about the friendships she has developed since then. With a renewed motivation to participate in social initiatives, she is planning to invite more young people to the SAP Labs Latin America in Sao Leopoldo.

Jürgen Griesbeck, the founder and CEO of streetfootballworld, is also impressed by this initiative: “The KickApp Cup for me is a perfect example of a meaningful cooperation between sectors. Here it’s the corporate sector and the civil society sector. Football acts perfectly as common language for both and the end product is actually something meaningful for the football4good community.”

SAP TV Correspondent Megan Meany featured the KickApp Cup on Spinterest:

After the Match is Before the Match

During the KickApp Cup final, the teams did not compete against each other. Instead they combined the best ideas from each app to design the ultimate football4good app, which was then presented at the streetfootballworld’s Festival 16, an official CSR event of the UEFA EURO 2016.


The football4good App

Many of the young participants have had to overcome big obstacles at a young age. During the KickApp Cup, they share their personal stories and talk about the obstacles in their social environments. The app could help football4good organizations across the globe address these problems by making it easier for individual organizations to cooperate through a joint platform. Its main features includes:

    • Availability online and offline
    • Collaboration within and between organizations
    • Tracking of players, games and reporting numbers for impact measurement

Thirty football4good organizations were invited to the premiere and the response was remarkable. “This is exactly the solution I’ve been looking for the past six months,” one U.S. delegate said. In fact, the app would be available online and offline and enable a broad collaboration within and between organizations. Tracking of players, games and reporting numbers for impact measurement is another essential feature.

The app design is open for additional features that can be added according to particular requirements of the local organizations. “A great idea. I was completely beside myself when I heard the app even works without internet connection,” was another voice from the audience.

The KickApp Cup final was a spectacular event, but one objective still remains: to turn the final app into a finished product. This will be decided on in the near future, and would unleash the next big challenge. As football players put it – after the match is before the match.

Photography by Brice Blondel and Kircher Photography

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