My 3rd week within the Schalke04 integrated soccer program was fantastic. the coaches in Germany are much more knowledgeable about fussball compared to back at home in the USA and have taught me already so much about the game.
In my free time this week, I spent it mostly stretching and doing schoolwork however, I did have some fun events with my teammate — like movie night, walking around my new hometown of Gelsenkirchen, and watching other Schalke 04 matches. Overall, it was a great, and productive week.
At first, it was hard living in a new country and adapting to new customs without any family by my side. Now, I am well situated and quite enjoy being in Germany learning more about soccer every day. I was disappointed on Wednesday because I did not start the match against Schermbeck, but when I went in, we turned the match around and ended tying the game. The team we played was not very technical but they worked much harder than us, and I think this is why the game ended in a tie.
The practices here are very different than back at home, the Schalke 04 coaches always have a new drill, training many different aspects of our bodies. Some of the morning and afternoon soccer practices are focused on position-based training, other days we train to become stronger physically — and we also have cognitive sessions where we have to think very fast and we do extremely technical drills. Additionally, we had tests done to calculate if we biologically developed later or earlier than our actual birthdate.
Every day I learn something new … getting me one step closer to my dream of becoming a professional soccer player. It is a blessing to be here.
X Hafer, #3 Defender