In the budget – 11 friends

A podium was erected on the grass at the PreZero Arena, the TSG Hoffenheim stadium. Simple look, little frills. A small TSG flag is waving alone in the wind by the stage. 198 club members find their way onto the field and are seated at irregular intervals in squares K and L. The remainder of the field is empty. So goes the general meeting at the TSG of Hoffenheim.

The image that can be seen on October 3, 2021 symbolizes the status of the club. What the sponsor Dietmar Hopp announced at that young age makes this day an unforgettable day. The club was so far I have been grateful for every year in the Bundesliga,” but now is the time to announce new goals, he said. One of the most important: to be one of the top six teams in the Bundesliga permanently. Think big and such.

It was said that Hopp’s goal at the beginning of his investment was to make TSG the newest and most successful coaching club in Germany. In the meantime, this concept does not seem to be far from reality. Which is why Hopp is now talking about bigger plans on a small stage. The club, who played in the domestic league before joining in 1991, now wants New Fields.” Yes, and the 198 members who attended attest to that, only a few seemed to be interested.

One of our characteristics is to be a coaching club.”

One name that Hopp says is closely associated with the new target is Jens Rasiejewski, head of youth division at Hoffenheim. In TSG’s current professional team, there are ten players who belong to the club’s youth, at least five of whom are part of the extended permanent squad. For comparison: at RB Leipzig, who has similarly invested in the youth division in recent years, there are only four specially trained players who are officially part of the professional team. However, they are all far from the usual place. Together they have only managed 160 competitive minutes this season.

“One of our characteristics is to be a coaching club,” NLZ Director Rasiejewski says in an interview with 11FREUNDE. We want to be innovative, encouraging young people from the region to sport and create perspectives. “Rasiejewski believes that this coaching concept is fruitful. And start counting: Since TSG’s promotion to the Bundesliga, there have been at least seven players from their youth in the professional team every season, at least two of whom have been regular players. Players like Niklas Sule or Jonas Hoffmann, who came from the club’s youth, is now among the top international players.Many of the coaches who made their first steps in Kraichgau’s youth teams are currently active in the big clubs.Prominent examples include Julian Nagelsmann, Domenico Tedesco and Pellegrino Matarazzo.

But how exactly does the Hoffenheim concept work?

Until the age of 12, talented people who have reached the TSG radar continue to play for their local clubs. They train in Sinsheim only once a week. Rasiejewski says: The pressure to perform too early hinders children’s development and is an obstacle to their free development. This choice, which is now commonplace in the industry and sometimes strict, does not lead to anything. This is why TSG deliberately distanced itself from her.

The catch: Statistically, kids start playing soccer between the ages of five and seven. However, in these age groups TSG Hoffenheim does not have its own youth teams, as the club concept envisions. This means that the basic education of the children remains with the neighboring clubs. When the potential can be anticipated, TSG steps in and begins promoting the most talented young footballers. Although this is a very common process in the industry, it is far from it To attract children to sports.

However, the successful work of the Hoffenheim Youth Academy cannot be denied. In the DFB Youth Academy’s rating system, which was in effect until 2019, TSG received the highest possible rating of three stars. This is partly due to the fact that the association collected additional points in the school part of the training. Here TSG cooperates with the outdoor club Anpfiff ins Leben”, who takes care of the school’s support for young players. When asked, some parents of young TSG players emphasized that the school aspect was a crucial argument for their choice of the club.

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