The conference team is headed by Ridvan Askin, Catherine Diederich and Aline Bieri from the University of Basel. They are joined by Sixta Quassdorf, Rahel Ackermann Hui, Denise Kaufmann and Johanna Schüpbach.
Ridvan is co-founder of WSC Dübel Dreisam, a Freiburg hobby league team, for whom he ceased to play in 2009. The biggest success in his soccer career as a striker came when WSC won the league's 5-a-side tournament - with a negative goal difference. Apart from that, the only other notable occurrence concerns his transfer from USC Mank, his Austrian youth team, to SV Blau-Weiss Wiehre Freiburg in 2013 as this made him an international FIFA transfer. He went on to play two games for his new club's third team, which, alas, was discontinued at the end of the season.
Growing up in Basel, I have been an FC Basel fan since my parents first took me to a football match in 2001. Ever since then I knew I wanted to play football myself – the strategic thinking, the virtuoso technique with the ball, the speed and physical strength as well as the aesthetics of a team sport – football simply combines it all. Back then, I joined the girl’s team of my home club FC Allschwil, and played myself my fair share of football matches as a left defender. However, as is often the case in amateur sports, an injury then put a sudden end to all my amateur activities. Now I have to content myself with watching football matches of the FC Basel at the stadium, and with participating in so-called “Grümpelturnier” (fun football tournaments), which is not that bad either. Against this backdrop, I consider myself extremely lucky to have the chance to co-organise an international conference on the poetics and aesthetics of football – a conference that combines my passion for English linguistics and my academic interest in the English language in general with my love for this - in so many ways - “beautiful game” called football.
Catherine’s passion for soccer goes back to her childhood in Los Angeles, California. At the age of seven, she joined AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) and started playing in a team called Blue Lightning (see picture above). She played right defense and vividly remembers the weekly training sessions and soccer matches (as well as Gatorade and sliced oranges during half-time). She also recalls her parents watching every game and her mother’s commitment as Team Mom (in the picture on the left holding the banner). She quit playing soccer when her family moved to Switzerland in 1992. At the time, girls soccer was not as well-established in Switzerland as in the United States and the closest organization was quite far away from their new home in Zurich. Ever since, Catherine is a spectator rather than a player. She enjoys watching FC Basel games, although she may not be very outgoing about it, which is perhaps due to the fact that she lives in Zurich (the FC Basel and the FC Zurich have a long-standing rivalry). Furthermore, influenced by her father’s unconditional support for Borussia Dortmund, she supports BVB when watching Bundesliga games.