International Soccer Academy


FC Schalke 04 Integrated Academy
Launched August 2021

FC Schalke 04 Integrated Academy

Launched August 2021

After a national search which began in March 2021 to identify exceptionally talented players who were considered to be invited to join the inaugural integrated 2003/04 team
 at FC Schalke 04, the 22 player roster arrived in Germany on August 11 and started their training. Each player was approved by Schalke scouts before being offered a roster spot on the team. With the guidance of full-time Jens Grembowietz (Head Coach) and Julian Kaliczok (Assistant Coach ), the Integrated Academy of Residential American players follow the same curriculum as the youth Bundesliga players at FC Schalke and will immerse themselves in the professional environment for the duration of the 2021-2022 football season. Training on the famed campus, the team is fully integrated into FC Schalke 04.

Virtual tryouts are currently available for the 2022/23 season. Nationwide tryout and scouting schedule will be available soon. Interested players should inquire if they can qualify by completing the PLAYER INQUIRY form. Player highlight videos are required.

All schedules subject to changes due to COVID-19 safety protocols.


It’s not just the name of Schalke’s youth academy; it is a seal of quality in German football. It is there that talents are moulded, prepared for professional football and forged into Schalke players.

Gelsenkirchen once was the heart of European coal production. Schalke’s club culture is infused with mining, from the player tunnel at the Veltins-Arena, which is designed to resemble a mine shaft, to the Knappenschmiede academy, which has been one of the country’s most productive. Players are stars when they leave, not when they enter. Manuel Neuer, Mesut Özil, Leroy Sané, Julian Draxler and U.S. midfielder Weston McKennie are among the graduates.

Knappenschmiede By The Numbers


4 Knappenschmiede graduates became World Champions with Germany in 2014: Manuel Neuer, Mesut Özil, Benedikt Höwedes and Julian Draxler


About 20 players play for a national or an international pro team


6 German Championship Titles with U17 & U19


100+ employees in the Academy (30+ full-time employees)


100+ Knappenschmiede graduates made their Bundesliga debut for FC Schalke 04


200+ Knappenschmiede players in 12 youth teams (U8-U23)

"The player is who matters. Always!"

Peter Knäbel, Board Member for Sport and Communication

The FC Schalke 04 Academy — The Knappenschmiede — is for ambitious footballers.

Players come to prepare for professional football and to become an impact player.

As the second largest sports club in Germany, and the fifth largest in the world, former German Champions Schalke 04 has one of the most successful youth academies in the Germany — It’s record of developing players can compete with the very biggest clubs in soccer.
Schalke knows first hand the value of investing in today’s youth and has received the highest possible rating for its Youth Academy, which is three stars from the German Football Association and the German Football League. In the last ten years, many of Schalke’s  home-grown talents have started in the Champions League.
With a strong reputation for producing real footballing talent and a long list of success stories, Schalke has a history of recognizing American talent.
On the youth level, success is not primarily measured by the team’s final score. While there is no substitute for competition and performing well under pressure, success is defined by the development and achievement of individual players. The Academy’s world class training objectives are clear — Encourage and challenge each player, and instill the skills and knowledge required to advance to the next level.
"FC Schalke 04 believed in me and gave me the opportunity to make my Bundesliga debut."

Matthew Hoppe, Former Forward FC Schalke 04, American Professional Soccer Player

“Own the way to the top, there is no panacea. Every football career is unique.”

In addition to football specific development Schalke also focuses on a player’s athletic and coordinated skills. From strengthening foot muscles to improving speed with photo analysis and corrective notes, this is player position specific training that give players an competitive edge.

Schalke’s goalkeeper training is recognized worldwide. Manuel Neuer, Lars Unnerstall and Holger Gehrke are only a few of the goalkeepers who have successfully completed training at the Royal Blues.

Our joint INTERACTIVE Residential Academy falls within Schalke’s competitive division (U16-U19) where the focus is on the tactical aspects, as players are expected to be technically proficient. Players will be trained by Schalke’s fully qualified football coaches and the head coach for the team will hold a UEFA / DFB A license.

With over a century of rich tradition, Schalke values modesty, fair play, team spirit, respect, passion and a player’s dedication.

Founded in 1904, Schalke is in Gelsenkirchen, Germany – a former hub of coal production. Just over 20 miles from Dusseldorf and less than 20 miles from Dortmund, Schalke is in the heart of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region. One of 16 founding members of Germany’s Bundesliga, click here for Schalke’s milestones.

Players on the INTEGRATED Academy will live at The Courtyard by Marriott Gelsenkirchen, which is walking distance to the Schalke stadium, the Veltins-Arena.

The Best Players Need to
Train with Amazing Coaches

The International Soccer Academy partnership with FC Schalke 04 gives 2003-2004 players the rare opportunity to intensely develop their football skills. Mirroring the structure of the FC Schalke’s Academy, players will experience what a myriad of youth international players already have — the life of a professional with a rigorous training schedule, stimulating school curriculum, and challenging test matches against top youth Bundesliga clubs.

The Academy

FC Schalke 04 tracks and observes the development of talented players and invites only the best to train at their Bundesliga Academy. International Soccer Academy and Schalke 04 have collaborated on the methodology for the groundbreaking 2003/04 Integrated Academy.

Proud To Wear

Our Players Will Be Sporting FC Schalke 04 Gear on The Field

Our Pledge to Top 2003/04 Players

Players Deserve To Be Trained by Top Coaches with UEFA PRO or A Licenses.

No Soccer Compromises

Redefining the future of youth soccer, this joint initiative provides a completely integrated player development program with FC Schalke 04. This unique immersion program was created to meet the higher needs of America’s most elite 2003/04 players and is coached exclusively by FC Schalke 04 coaches. 

Players will train at Schalke campus, a 10-minute walk from hotel.

No Academic Compromises

Players can take advantage of our educational partner, Arizona State University (ASU), which has a rigorous preparatory academy — perfect for serious student-athletes.  A part of Arizona State University, ASU is an accredited online school with an accelerated path toward college admission — and offers a flexible schedule so players can train and travel without missing school. (Additional costs apply).

Our Commitment to Players

This is the real deal. Excellent training. Intense Skill Development. Amazing Coaches. Scouting Opportunities. Official FC Schalke O4 Training Gear and Uniform. Highly competitive games with Bundesliga academy teams and other clubs for a full season. Tickets for FC Schalke 04’s Bundesliga home matches.

Players on the INTEGRATED Academy will stay at The Courtyard by Marriott Gelsenkirchen, which is walking distance to the Schalke stadium, the Veltins-Arena. Two players per room. Flat-screen TVs. Anti-inflammatory sports diet. 

“For the future of the club, it can only be an advantage to promote one’s own talents so well, becausethey are of great value for one’s own identification.”

Mathias Schober - Director Knappenschmiede and Development

Dedicated to the Player's Success

Integrated 2003/04 Residential Program Provides Complete, Authentic Player Centric Development & Exposure

  • Coaching Staff:
    UEFA A full-time coach, full-time associate coach; plus Goalkeeper training, athletic coach and physiotherapist (part-time)
  • Housing:
    4-star hotel (double room) with full board (3 meals a day), laundry (self-service), common player area, sauna, gym
  • Nutrition:
    3 meals per day, anti-inflammatory diet, water provided during training and during the day
  • Curriculum:
    Training curriculum of FC Schalke 04 Pro Academy is duplicated, daily training on the highest level with pro coaches
  • Scouting:
    Direct Access to FC Schalke's Scouting and if selected Tryouts with S04
  • Matches:
    Highly competitive games with Bundesliga academies and other clubs
  • Uniforms:
    Players will wear official FC Schalke 04 kits
  • Video Analysis:
    Matches will be filmed and analyzed, and players will be able to create individual highlight reels
  • Live Streaming of Matches:
    Our matches will be live streamed through MyCujoo which will allow family, friends and recruiters to be part of the match experience
  • Pedagogical Support:
    Full-time resident advisor that is schooled in Pedagogy, Sports, and Psychology
  • Transportation:
    For team activities like games, a bus will be provided; student-athletes will have access to a ticket which will enable the players to use the extensive public transportation system in Gelsenkirchen (bus, train, subway)
  • Cultural Immersion:
    Each player will partake in a German language course and additionally the team will participate in at least 15 cultural/ social excursions to learn about Germany's history and culture
  • Guest Speakers:
    To not only develop the players on the field, International Soccer Academy and FC Schalke 04 are committed to providing impulses through guest speakers that will help shape the players character in a positive and impactful way as well as mental training to improve performance under pressure
  • Bundesliga Experience:
    International Soccer Academy players will have access to two (2) FC Schalke 04 Bundesliga matches
  • Social Media:
    Videos, pictures will tell the daily/weekly story of our players living, training, and competing in Germany
“Schalke is emotion, is tradition. We want to convey these values ​​to the young players so that they can truly live and represent them.”

Gerald Asamoah - Head of Sports U23

Application Timeline


Virtual Tryouts - Apply Online

Submit highlight video and/or coaching recommendations. All applications will undergo an evaluation process. FC Schalke 04 scouts will review player highlight reels.


In-person Tryouts

Another pathway to get approved. FC Schalke 04 scouts will review player highlight reels.


Personal Zoom Interview

With Eddie Loewen and/or International Soccer Academy coaching staff


Complete Player Application and Submit Deposit

If a player is accepted, he will complete and sign the Player Agreement. A non-refundable deposit is required.


On-Boarding Process

Zoom sessions


Arrival on Site in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Discounts available at headquarter hotel for family traveling with player

For additional questions, please email us at

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We welcome you to contact us for more information
on any of our International Soccer Academy pro-level residential programs.

Apply Now

Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation, we have created a new, digital TRYOUT online admission process. We will want to see a video, review coach recommendations and have a Zoom meeting after you complete an online Q&A.

Let’s Talk About Your Future

We are focused on developing confident and successful players. What are your goals? Driven to get a pro contract in the USA or abroad? Want to play DI collegiate soccer? Reach out to us to discuss your future — and how we can help you reach your potential.

VISA Assistance

Our one-semester or full-year gap program and advanced development immersion residency are for top players who want more. We offer a comprehensive, player-centric solution complete with Visa assistance.

CALL: 1-844-8-UNITED