Berlin native takes on Butler soccer

Jen Anima-Valdez


 Imagine it:  a huge town full of culture and people, with beautiful architecture at every corner, skinny streets and the best Doners – a traditional German food. This is how Amelie Koenig, a Berlin, Germany, native, would describe her home.  

Compared to Berlin, Germany, Koenig says Americans use too much ice, that the bread is too fluffy and soft and that American use of air conditioner is crazy, especially in the cafeteria. 

“I don’t know if you’ve been, but the café (cafeteria) is super cold,” Koenig said. “I think it’s the only café in the (United) States that is windy because it’s so cold.” 

Americans, in her opinion, are “too” nice which makes it hard to decipher who is being genuine and who’s not. Germans are more direct and do not make small talk with one another.  

“I kind of learned to appreciate that,” Koenig said “I used to admire that America is so nice. But it also has some benefits to it if you know what the other person thinks of you or wants from you, because sometimes here you can’t. “ 

People all over the world and Germany go to the capital with expectations of a party town, which is a misconception but has allowed Berlin to be diverse in culture.  

Humor is another thing that she finds different here in the United States because it does not translate correctly from German to English.  

“We love sayings in Germany,” Koenig said. “We have like 1,000 trillion sayings, they’re really funny, and when I translate them word for word in English, you all don’t have that saying so it’s not funny.” 

During Koenig’s sophomore year of high school, she decided to do an exchange semester in Macon, Georgia with a host family. Once she returned home, she finished school and decided to backpack through Europe, and pursued an internship before taking on a college sport.  

Koenig is a midfielder for the women’s soccer team who went to Nationals this week. On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the soccer team fell to Monroe Community College, 5-4, knocking them out of Nationals. Previously, the Grizzlies were ranked No. 4 in the country.  

She chose Butler because it was a school that had the nicest facilities and some of the best achievements when it came to the sport of soccer.  

“I really wanted to go to a JUCO because it’s smaller and more like a family, but I always wanted to be successful with my sport,” Koenig said. 

She is thinking about staying in Georgia throughout Thanksgiving break with her old friends and host family since Nationals took the team to Georgia.  

In the beginning, it was hard for Koenig to adapt to her new team because of different personalities, culture and even the game of soccer being different in pace and aggressiveness. She describes the game of soccer in Germany as more technical. 

“I was so comfortable with my old team in Germany that for some reason unconsciously I thought that I was going to come here and be like that with this team” Koenig said. 

But after getting to know her team well, she says the hardships were worth it.  

“To go through the harder times, to now being in love with my team and enjoying every moment, I love my team,” she said.

Koenig is close with her international teammates especially with her Hispanic teammates. Being from a place that is “multiculti,“ as Koenig describe, is what makes her relationship with foreigners so good. 

“it’s not our home country, but we still love America for multiple reasons…,” Koenig said. “It kind of connects us that we’re not from here.” 

Koenig was exposed to soccer from the young age of two when her older brother put her in front of the goal and started shooting the ball at her. It was not until age seven that she began to take it seriously after a few years of playing club soccer for a teacher at her school In Germany. There is no school sports, just club sports.  

Koenig and her club teammates that she has played with still stay in contact after all these years and continue to get together to play a game as if nothing has changed. Some of her teammates back home are pursuing soccer as a professional career, but Koenig is choosing not to because she loves the sport too much to turn it into a job.  

“I’ve noticed that every time I play like under a lot of pressure for tryouts on national teams or something I just don’t play well, and I don’t have fun,” Koenig said. “I love being competitive, and I love making my team good, but I don’t want to make it my job, I don’t want my money or my salary depending on how well I play.” 

Koenig is majoring in marketing, which is her favorite classes here, and wants to pursue a job with UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), a social organization that helps children in Africa who do not have enough to eat. With her marketing here she would want to increase donations or help a similar organization grow. If this does not work out, she plans to do marketing for a big sports company who she already has connections with through her internship. 

Before she returns home to finish her master’s degree, Koenig will attend a four-year university to attain her bachelor’s degree and maybe work for a year here since her visa allows it. She explains this will help make a connection between the (United) States and Germany. Koenig has not decided on which university to attend, but she hopes to be in a place with mountains or on the coast.  

In the meantime, she will travel to Germany in the summer and the winter to visit her best friend, her mother and her home. Before coming to the United States, her house was under renovation, which made her feel as if she did not have a home. She says the same is true by staying on campus in the dorms. 

 Despite her hardships, she stays in contact with her mother every day and says timing is everything to her.  

“Whoever is struggling right now, I want them to know that time can release a lot of pressure off you and just know that everything is going to be ok if you just keep pushing and stop trying to fit in,” Koenig said. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s