The tradition continues for St. Albert soccer icon Dieter Knobloch at the Mini World Cup.
Knobloch’s granddaughter, Marissa Webb, is playing for Germany, the country her grandfather coached for decades at the Edmonton District Soccer Association indoor competition.
“It’s really cool. I’ve honestly always been wanting to do it since I was really young when my grandpa would go and coach Team Germany for the men,” said Webb, who as a little girl carried her country’s name sign in front of the German players for the opening ceremonies at the Mini World Cup.
She is Knobloch’s first grandchild to play in the Mini World Cup and to do it for Germany is extra special.
“It’s kind of a big to-do and I know my dad is just a smiling from heaven right now watching her,” said Marion, Webb’s mom and Knobloch’s daughter. “I’ve been really emotional through this whole thing because she is so competitive and my dad and her were really close. It’s just making me feel like my dad is there for her right now.”
“I feel he’s been there for all of my games so far.”
Knobloch’s legacy as a life member and one of the initial founders of the St. Albert Soccer Association ranged from president to facilities director, in addition to his passion for refereeing and coaching the St. Albert Impact Rangers the boisterous German started as a youth team in the mid-1980s.
The EDSA Wall of Fame member succumbed to cancer after a courageous 10-year battle on June 30, 2010 at the age of 70.
Webb is determined to maintain Knobloch’s legendary status in the sport.
“I want to keep his name good even though a lot of people don’t know I’m his granddaughter,” said the Grade 12 St. Albert Catholic High School student.
Knobloch was Webb’s unofficial coach in youth soccer.
“I didn’t always play indoor, I always just played outdoor, so he kind of gave me tips on indoor because I wasn’t used to it,” said the midfielder for the U18 Tier 1 Edmonton Strikers. “He kind of taught me how to be a good striker and he used to write down on pieces of paper plays so that way I would know what to do in any situation.”
Webb, 17, is the youngest female for Germany at the Mini World Cup. The tournament consists of 12 female teams divided into three groups and her first game was the 2-1 loss to India last week.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking. I was pretty nervous I would say for the first 10 minutes but then I kind of got into it. All the girls on my team kind of played with each other on the same team so I’m kind of like an outsider,” she said of the German team that is sporting identical jerseys worn by their home country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
In the next game, Webb scored once in the 8-2 win over Scotland.
“That was really exciting.”
Monday’s result against Canada would determine where Germany is slotted in the playoff bracket. The score was unavailable at press time.
Visit www.edsa.org for the schedule and results.