I love football – as a College Football fan (Oklahoma Sooners), as a former player and as a coach. But ain`t you a cowboy you might ask...
How do cowboys and football fit together? Well, Many cowboys in the USA love football. In fact quite a few of todays rodeo stars played
football in high school. But even current College Football and NFL players have cowboy roots. Some NFL players are even known for
proudly wearing their cowboy hats in public, f.e. Peyton Manning, JJ Watt, Von Miller, Jared Allen and Vince Wilfork. And there are a bunch of
coaches – especially high school coaches in cowboy-states like Texas – who honor their cowboy ways by wearing cowboy hats on the side-
line.The cowboy way is deeply rooted in the culture over there... And even I stay cowboy as a football coach and use my cowboy mentaility and
values (and also my christian values) while coaching football in Germany!
There is nothing like Football. Its a one of a kind, complex and challenging sport. It is very demanding on players and coaches - but football
gives a lot too! With military-like discipline, team love and team spirit high school and college kids are molded into better humans that have a
lot of willpower and discipline. They are prepared for their future lives and also become better students because of football! Therefore football
is more than just a sport! Football is very tactical, some call it “Chess on Grass” (with a sports character). Others compare it to military and
war because the goal of the offensive team is to gain ground (or occupy space) by moving the football via running or passing plays (on the
ground or via the air) while a defensive team tries to stop the other teams offense… Coaches are very involved in games and call the
strategies and plays that the players need to perform. And even though football is a tough sport - physically and mentally: It does not have
much in common with brutal chaos as some folks think. In fact exactly the opposite is true: Players have to execute the coaches instructions
with a lot of discipline, precision and tactical under- standing... I do not want to go into details about the rules because there are many
places on the internet dedicated to those… instead this page wants to provide general information about football in the USA and Germany as
well as personal experiences as a coach in Germany. In order to understand my mindset it is important to understand the American sports
system and, especially the mindset when it comes to football! Because in Germany the real meaning of football is usually unknown! In the
beginnings of football it wasn`t about professionals or making money (that came about 100 years later!)! Because of the characteristics of
football it was about building character and molding young people into disciplined men with perseverance and willpower thru athletic activities!
And this is - of course - still the case today because this has always been the foundation, the base of what the great sport of football is all
High School Football
High School Football
The next level is College Football: A lot of Europeans don`t really know what football is - much less college football! And when they find out
that the largest football stadiums are College Stadiums and not NFL stadiums they find that hard to believe. I guess you have to experience
the excitement and passion first hand to fully understand how big college football truly is! Fans decorate their homes and vehicles,
everybody talks about it and each and every Saturday during the season there are count- less private and public TV-parties where fans
meet to watch the games of their favorite teams! The hype is unbelievable and can be compared to how Europeans treat the World Cup of
Soccer! People go crazy for their national teams when the World Cup comes around every four years: They go to "public viewings"
(seriously - that`s how they call it here when hundreds of fans get together to watch the games of their national team on a big screen in a
park or town square), have private TV-parties and decorate their cars with the national colors... So the American hype for college football is
definately comparable to the European hype for the Soccer World Cup! However: Europeans get to do it for a couple of weeks every four
years while Am- ericans get to do it every single year for 4 1/2 months! There are 7 College Stadiums with seating capacities well over
100.000 seats! No NFL stadium has 100.000 seats or more!!!). College Football is at least as popular as the NFL is, in many areas College
Football is even more popular!!! Teams oftentimes represent their state and therefore generate "local patriotism"
High School Football
Professionally organized football usually starts in high school (and it`s feeder system). It is there where young Americans learn the basics of
the sport and gain football understanding. High school football teams play other high schools in leagues on the state level. Generally the high
school is viewed as the heart of the community (especially in small and midsize towns) with the football team being the main atraction. The
school teams not only represent the school but also the entire town identifies with it. City limit signs, watertowers and local businesses proudly
display the teams colors! High school football is a social event that packs the stadiums on friday nights and businesses are closed. Usually the
games are broadcast on radio and even TV! Football players are local celebrities but not only the players enjoy high school football: Many
students are involved as cheerleader, rally girls, team managers or in the school band (kinda like a German Trommlerchorps, but way cooler).
The entire town comes together on Friday nights and the team creates a great deal of school spirit! It makes the school time a special time in
the lives of young Americans.
But (high school) football is far more than just a sport and Americans know: Football is also a tool to prepares players for their future lives.
Football is defines by discipline and with that comes will power, perseverance, team love and team spirit. Football teaches to never give up
and challenges its players mentally and physically. Students become better human beings thru football. It is also a fact that football players
usually become better students.
Football in the USA
My friends and I meet every Saturday during the College Football season to follow our teams LIVE on TV. And of course we do so with plenty
of “finger food” and drinks – just like our counterparts in the US. Here are a few pics from our football get-togethers:
A Football team is lead by the Head Coach. He is usually a teacher, administrator or, (in Texas) coaching football can be his only job. The
head coach is supported by assistant coaches (usually Teachers) and students - on the lower end - students as trainers (take care of players
needs) and team manager (take care of team needs like washing uniforms etc)To be able to instill the necessary degree of discipline the
head coach usually is given the authority to lead his team as he sees fit by resp. rules and the administration. A common saying in the US is:
Football is a dictatorship by the head coach so that he can lead his program according to his values and philosophies. In Football,coaches
have a huge responsibility compared to other sports, even during games they are highly involved as they have to read the opponents, make
key decisions and call each play. High school football demands a lot from coaches and players alike. Nobody is forced to play football but for
those who are part of the team (football is a privilege, not a right - US Supreme court ruling) football becomes a priority and dominates their
lives, usually they practice every day during the season (sometimes even several times a day - before school, during athletic period and after
school), even saturdays and sundays after church are not off limits...Commitment is necessary and practices are usually mandatory. Football
players feed of their football days for the rest of their lives.
National Football League
The highest level in terms of football skills is the NFL (National Football League). One very huge difference to the typical German system is
that teams can`t relegate down or go up, in the American System i players instead of entire teams move up or down. This system is much,
much better than the German system and brings a lot of advantages while there are huge stadiums unused because the team went down to
a minor league... Or a major league team plays in a 15.000 seat stadium because they come from a small town with a small stadium...And
think about the professionalism of a club that relegates all the way down from major league to 4th or even lower league level and vice
versa...Anyways, in terms of popularity the NFL and College Football are toe to toe, it depends on what study you believe. The Superbowl is
the most watched sporting event in the US, even though College Football it seems there is way more hype around college football during the
season....Other professional leagues are "Arena Football League" and "Canadian Football League" and a few semi pro leagues...
Oftentimes I am asked about football in Germany: I am asked by Americans if their sport even exists in Germany and in what form. Or I am
asked by German coaches or parents about my coaching approach and philosophy. Therefore I would like to share my experiences as a
youth football head coach (the German equivalent to a high school football coach) - even if it takes a little explaining... because I would like
to tell my story, chronologically from the first shock of realizing what the sports system was like over here to finding a team that was willing to
try my "American system" and the subsequent success as a coach...
highly intense sport. Coaches are like officers who give orders to the players who then have to execute those orders - that is how Football is
often describes in the USA. A Head Coach not only creates playbooks and on field activities: It is important that he molds his team and instills
the right attitude by finding the perfect mix of team spirit, love and discipline. Practices have to be carefully planned and executed... I could wirte
so much more but let`s get back to my story...
Football in the German Club-System
I thought long and hard how detailed I should include my experiences with the German sports system and mentality. It is fundamentally
different and people might not like to hear the truth about their football here in Germany. And a wise man once said: If you have nothing
good to say, then say nothing at all". Well, that`s not always true and depends on context. And in order to tell my story I feel that I have to
include information about the German system and mentality. I certainly don`t want to offend anybody but in order to tell my story I should tell
it like it is...So my harsh criticism comes from personal experience. I don`t want to sound arrogant or like a "know it all", especially as a
Christian but it breaks my heart that German kids are robbed of the great experience that is (high school) football! So in order to explain my
coaching philosophies I have to explain the differences. Therefore I have decided to include a rather detailed explanation. And btw, even
Jesus our Lord oftentimes was harsh and spoke the truth when appropriate...So here goes:
To gain a better understanding of what football and the philosophy behind it is I have to explain and compare the German sports system to
the American sports system: In the USA every school has professionally organised sports teams as part of school activities. Those teams
represent the school and the entire community and they compete against other schools in regular leagues on the state level (please read the
topic "High School Football" a little bit above to gain more understanding). In Germany however there is no organized sports in schools.
Instead everything is done by independent "clubs" (Vereine). That leads to serious disadvantages for German kids who want to be serious
about sports (and football has to be taken serious as a sport because it is too complex and dangerous to be played "as a hobby on the side).
The German youth sports system is different because of those clubs. But I do not want to sidetrack from my personal story too much - I will
explain later...Anyways, those Clubs have set systems how they operate. The chain of command usually includes a leadership circle, sports
director, youth director and team manager. The system is based on democratic elections. Football is not a democracy, football hast to be run
like a dictatorship! This is also common knowledge and a typical phrase in the U.S.
What is a German "club" anyways? It`s a legal entity and In Germany social life is ruled by clubs...people with similar interests just form a
club. There are stamp collector clubs, garden clubs, crochet clubs, cooking clubs etc and of course there are sports clubs. And legally a
sports club is not much different from a crochet club or a cooking club. The fundamental idea is for people with the same interests to follow
their hobby together in a union of equal rights! So how can this work in team sports when every member of the club (no matter if coaches,
players, administration) has equal rights!?!
A Head Coach here is in the middle of the chain of command of his team and not where he needs to be - on the very top! Not just on the field
but also for everything else of the field! A That is one of the main reasons why the sport of football / Teams will not reach their full potential.
What they do not understand here is that the head coach has to be the highest authority and not just a "trainer"! A team needs to be HIS
program and He needs to be in charge of all aspects of the team. From setting rules and running practices to parents communication,
planning camps and all team functions: He has to be in charge and there are important reasons for it! It comes down to the fundamentals of
the sport of football itself so please don`t think football coaches are power hungry tyrants or something! Bare with me, I will explain shortly!
So in the USA a head coach usually has the support of the principal, board and (if needed) the athletic director. Also important: In the US a
coach is viewed as a teacher, mentor, father figure and much more. This is not possible in Germany - in fact in many clubs the kids get to
elect their won coaches! In Germany a coach is only an exercise leader on the field...
Unfortunately in Germany the head coach in youth football is not the head of the program that he needs to be! Usually there is a youth
director who is in charge and usually is the point of contact for parents and takes care of them. And now try to understand this: The youth
director usually is a parent!!! He holds the position because he is a father or mother of a player. So the direct superior of the head coach is
somebody without knowledge of the sport! Imagine this: A no clue father or mother tells a head coach with 20 years of football experience
(maybe even in the USA) what he has to do and what he can`t do!!! This defies all logic but unfortunately is common practice in my
experience! Then there is a team manager who takes care of organisational tasks like bus trips, camps and even practice schedules. The
team manager is usually a parent and an integral part of the team. He or she is higher or on the same level with the head coach! A "Head
Coach" here is merely an "exercise leader". The head coach here usually does not have a lot of authority, much less beyond the actual field
of play! And many important factors happen off the actual field! That makes real football almost impossible. But to understand this, one has
to understand what football is: (and it does not count to say "We are not in the USA - we are in Germany" like so many people do because
guess what: It´s the same sport with the same factors and dangers over here too!) The typical structures in Germany do not allow real
football because they do not allow the foundation of what football is!!!
Another huge problem is that clubs usually have several teams. This is desired and even necessary in the club system. Clubs for team sports
usually have an adult team (called "First team") and youth teams (usually U19, U16 and U13). Basically every club is structured like this as
this is how clubs can survive. Usually the adult team is the main team that gets the most attention (therefore called "First team"). This
however is terribly wrong as adult teams are not even real football as club laws prohibit the foundation of football!!! If at all then real football
is only possible in U16 or younger... Also: In the USA there are also no adult teams like here in Germany! Therefore youth teams (U16)
should be the main teams in the clubs...However football here is completely twisted and youth teams are only viewed as support teams for
the adult team. Anyways, the huge problem with several teams within a club is that kids move up from team to team as they get older. That
makes separation and blocking a team off impossible. Instead all club teams together are desired to be "one big family" And that - of course
- is another perversion of the great sport of football as that makes the foundation of football impossible
The Foundation of Football is missing
Under the usual German sports system the head coach is unable to install a high degree of discipline and team spirit because of the reasons
mentioned above. And because of that lacking authority there is lacking discipline, determination, will power and little team spirit and no team
Also: In order to build great team spirit and discipline a team has to be blocked off from outside influences as much as possible – that is
another football truth. Unfortunately this is not desired because of the German system and also mentality. Instead here clubs are “one big
family” and all the teams (adults, ladies, youth) try to do as much together as possible. This is so wrong on so many levels!!! How can you
build a team identity and great team love if the team is never alone?!? They are always together with the other teams but the other teams do
not go to battle with them!!! They are not on the field with them!!! And then the team manager and youth director are always involved
because they are actually in charge and take care of the parents… So building a team identity and love is not possible.
So there is not much discipline and not much Team Spirit (and therefore the social/moral aspects that make football what it is) because the
usual German club hierarchy and structures in the legal form "club" do not allow it! A head coach under the usual German sports system
does not have the authority and he is not able to block off his team from outside influences! Therefore he is not able to offer real football to
his kids! Because of that it is mostly somewhat of a bad joke when German Football teams advertise with slogans like “Discipline and Team
Spirit”… Everybody who knows high school football in the USA knows that I am right... Prove? Sure - here you go:
I know I am repeating myself and mentioned it a couple of times already - but this is elementary: German social law asks for "participation in
decision making" and "self deter-mination", Youth Sports Germany says that sports is supposed to give young people" power of decision
making "and the State Sport Federation demands "self fulfillment"! Usually there are complying standard club rules, however football is
defined by discipline! Mandatory practices for example are therefore elementary. How can discipline rule if practice- or exercise participation
is optional and not mandatory?!? It is impossible! How can the needed virtues like willpower, perseverance, toughness etc be developed if
players can chose to come and go as they please?!? So if a player can simply chose not to attend practice or not to participate in certain
exercises during practice - then the virtues of football are impossible and the definition of football is not existing!But here rule number one is:
Nobody will be forced to participate in any exercise against his will. Rule number two: Personal feelings of players come first!!! Pretty much all
clubs have this line of thought as they keep the issued standard rules. But of course: Self determination, power of decision making and
putting personal feelings first are the exact opposite if discipline and team spirit!!! No need to say more! Especially if you consider that
football is a tool to prepare kids for their future lives with discipline, teamwork, strong will and perseverance! Here they are taught instead:
That rules don`t apply and mean nothing and that personal feelings and being self-centered is desired! Well done Germany!!! In contrast: In
the USA kids learn exactly the opposite!!!
That should be enough proof that the foundation of football is missing over here...But there is more:
The existence and importance of so called state representative teams (like national teams) over here also proves that I am correct! In NRW
this team is called “Green Machine”. Those kind of teams practice during the season (about 10 weekends a year) and it does not matter if
the local teams of the green machine players have their own games or practices, the green machine expects every player to be there! With
that Green Machine encourages the breaking of team rules and letting down your own team! Discipline means keeping team rules and team
spirit means not letting your team down and putting the teams needs over your own needs. That is why there is no such thing as
representative teams in Football. Think about it: If the best players would play on a national team then Tom Brady, JJ Watt and them would
have to be in that team – but a team like that does not exist! (USA Football has what they call "Team USA" but no current NFL, College or
High School players are on the team! Of course not. It is rather a "hobby team" consisting of former minor College players)There are All Star
teams that practice once or twice AFTER the season and then they have a game! Nobody would ask a high school coach, College coach or
NFL coach to give up their best players during the season and no high school player would let down his team ! Here however exactly the
opposite is true and proves that there is a definite lack of discipline and team spirit! Teams here brag about their players making the green
machine and players proudly show off Green Machine jerseys, jackets and caps – even during their own teams functions. The homepage of
the NRW Football Association showcases Green Machine events, news are dominated by green machine and not regular league play… The
way Green Machine is celebrated while the local teams are unimportant also proves how misunderstood the sport is over here! "Green
Machine" is against every foundation of football - and yet everybody here is proud to be a part of it! Another prove that the understanding for
football is missing overhere...Why do the Germans always have to change good things and change it to their ways when what exists is
already much better?!? There are many more reasons why "Green Machine" is against real football but let`s get back to the topic of youth
football over here:
Unfortunately many coaches grew up within the German sports culture and they never experienced real football with real discipline. So they
don`t know what they are missing, they just don`t know it any other way. And the few who do know football from the USA aren`t allowed to use
their philosophy because the German system does not allow it and they leave the sport utterly disappointed. Unfortunately a Head Coach
here is not a “mentor” for the kids either. In the US a Coach is a father, a brother or a teacher. He is more than just a “Trainer” to the kids.
This is also impossible because of the system. In fact, in many of those clubs the kids get to elect their coach (directly or indirectly) due to the
democratic principle of those clubs… and that - of course - is a complete joke...
Sure, there is no other way for an adult team (if in a club system) however this is about youth and real football would be easily do-able. But
the State Sport Authority f.e. does not want discipline in sports. Instead they state on their website that a sports club should teach democratic
values to its youth by letting them run things themselves! Authority is not welcome and therefore real football is not welcome! I am certainly
not against democracy – but not in youth sports… That is against all logic! A coach is a coach because he knows how it works and the
players have to learn from him! It does not make any sense if the players can vote how they want to run things since it is the coach who has
to run things because he knows how… It does not make any sense! In fact it creates exactly the opposite: It makes real football impossible!
Plus it makes it even more dangerous!!! But how about other team sports? I can`t imagine they work to their fullest potential…Whoever came
up with democracy in youth sports has no clue about reality!!! The required self-decisionmaking and self-determination is in direct contrast of
the foundation of football!!!!
The value of youth sports in Germany
I already touched on the subject earlier: In Germany youth sports is not done in schools. Instead sport takes place in “clubs” independent
from School. In the US schools offer sports teams as part of the schools, that has a lot of advantages (pls see the subject “High School
Football” as I do not want to repeat how professional youth sports is in the US and what advantages the school sports system holds). This
section is about the value of youth sports clubs in the German society because unfortunately those clubs are not taken seriously over here.
As a result sports for youth is unprofessional. People here treat it as a hobby on the side without any commitments. The “Coaches” are (in
pretty much all cases) simply volunteers, also without commitments in most cases. Maybe there are a few exceptions, I don`t know any
though. If a youth in a small or mid size town wants to be serious at sports he or she can just about forget about it because of the typical
German sports mentality: Parents want their kids to play a little sports on the side, without commitment and without having to attend every
practice. Enforcing practices is not really do-able in the German mindset. Forcing players to come to every possible practise would be too
much to ask since - according to the typical German understanding - sports is only supposed to be a little hobby on the side and not taken
seriously. Unfortunately people here don`t realize what they keep from the kids here! My players for example would not have it any other way
now that they know what real Football is!!! Because Football is commitment, everything else makes a joke out of the sport! Everybody who
know what football practice demands will confirm this! But it seems like Coaches over here are content with missing their players for
Grandma`s birthday, Granpa`s birthday, parents birthdays, siblings birthday, doctor`s appointments, or when it is to warm outside or to cold
outside. And then there are always school functions! And school is always more important than sports. Unfortunately the schools do not
respect the sports clubs at all. They schedule a lot of functions at night during club times and players miss practices or even games because
of school plays, project week, week-long school trips etc. Some players even have regular school until 5.30/6.00 PM on weekdays! And that
prevents them from attending practice! So a good player who would have a future career in sports is robbed of that future because school
does not allow him to practice on the regular bases!!!! While in the USA practice is part of school! So much for supporting athletes in this
country...And what I don`t get is this: In this country sports is done outside of school in the spare times in the afternoon / night (that in itself
has a lot of disadvantages as I said earlier). So at least the school should respect the club time – but they don`t…instead clubs are viewed
as minor... because sports is viewed as unimportant (just a little hobby without commitment) and school is always superior. As long as club
sports is viewed as a hobby and school is more important then you can pretty much forget about real football in Germany! Now I am not
saying that football is more important than school BUT: Football can make much better people out of students than schools will ever be able
to!!! You read that right, let me say it again: Football makes much better people out of students than schools will ever be able to!!! Any of my
current players will attest to that!!! And it has been proven that football makes students better in school Read it again: Football makes
students better in school! People in the US know what can be achieved by playing football – even in school! Al this is possible because of
what defines football!!! If Germans would only understand the possibilities!!! Unfortunately here exactly the opposite is wanted! But let`s look
at the German sports mentality from a different angle: How is it possible and tolerated that a team practices hard for months and months and
then when it counts the team misses key players because of a school trip during gameday! The team worked hard but blood, sweat and tears
are “wasted” because the state championship is lost because the school planned a trip during the weekend of the state championship! And
those trips are not mandatory in most cases. However it is normal that parents send their kids on those class trips. Because here they don`t
know commitment, love, team spirit, discipline etc Instead they view the team as a hobby on the side. They do not understand what a perfect
season or a championship would mean for the team or the kid. The efforts of the (volunteer) coaches and players are in vain from a sports
standpoint. German society will never take a football game over a school trip that is not even mandatory. They don`t understand that – if
done right – players would love their team mates much more than they would love their classmates! But here it is quite normal… Why is youth
sports here not done in school like in the USA?!? There would be so many advantages (see section "high School Football at the start).
Instead sports is not taken serious, it`s just a little hobby...I am so proud of my players though! All of my current kids have understood what
football is all about! And they are mighty proud of it! None of my boys would change with a player who`s team does not demand
commitments! But I guess we are the absolute exception in Germany when it comes to love, will, team spirit and discipline. But let`s not get
ahead of myself…
Further reasons against real football in Germany
a) There are usually several teams within a club (in fact oftentimes demanded by sports authorities here). Usually a club has adultteams and
several youth teams (divided by age). So blocking off a team and developing a team identity is not really possible.
b) Players can chose what club / team they want to join. In the US that would be quite difficult because of school zoning.
Players can`t just switch teams because they disagree with something or have issues with the coaches. And that creates the fundamentals
needed in football. Players lean to suck it up! In Germany however it is common to test clubs/teams and then decide where they want to
play! And when they dislike something afterwards or have issues with coaches they just switch teams! This is also a perversion that mocks
the fundamentals of football!
c) What is done during high school football remains important for the rest of players lifes.. Most will never play football again after high
school, only a small percentage will make it to play college football. So the time in high school is where memories for life are made! In fact the
local community will judge players for the rest of their lives based on what happened on the football field.. This also shows the importance of
high school football. But it is hard to comprehend for somebody who never experienced high school football in the U.S. himself! Those 3 or 4
years of high school footbal mean a lot and players count down towards the end. Coaches use this for additional motivation! Playing for a
short poeriod of time gives the sport a certain meaning different from being aable to play half your life! In Germany players can play as long
as they want to or as long as they stay healthy! But this makes football a joke: How can you have give the sport 100 percent commitment for
40 years?!? Impossible!!!
Is real Football even possible?
As you can see from the facts above there are not just a few differences, in fact just about everything is different. It seems too many
differences prevent real football over here. Over time I realized: Football is almost impossible to do here because of the mindset and the
sports system. And even in the highly unlikely case that it is possible: Real football is really only possible in a U15/U16 setting (or in teams
younger than that). There are quite a few highly unlikely factors that have to come together for real football to even be possible: First the
elected club leadership / general member-ship meeting have to agree and accept the "American"System and doing away with the typical
German structures by completely re-interpreting the laws! That is highly unlikely! Even if they were willing, the bylaws have to even allow it,
and in most cases they don`t! Instead clubs are urged by authorities to participation of the youth in decisions (and that of course erases the
coaches authority changing it is not very easy). There should not be a U19 team and there are huge advantages if a U15/U16 did not exist
and is started from scratch. That is important because of the democratic system in German sports... if you are familiar with German sports
laws then you know what I am talking about... and no, this is not far fetched as I witnessed it before... It is highly unlikely to find a club where
one of those points applies...but to find a club where all points apply is almost impossible! And even if there is a club like that and all factors
work out: Real football would only be possible for a couple of years because of the voting system in place over here...
But even if it was possible for a few years it is very hard: The sports mentality here makes real football very hard because parents and kids
usually want to play sports “as a hobby on the side” without commitments and priority! This is in their heads because this is how it is over
here!!! And they usually know football only from NFL broadcasts on German Television. But the basics, the foundation is not known! Many
young people in Germany think football is “cool” and they want to play "football" but they usually have no clue about the system behind it!
They want to be cool and play football but they do not want to give commitment and priority! Unfortunately there are several clubs in and
around the larger cities so “players” can pick and chose where they want to play. They go around from team to team and see which one they
like the best. Or if they don`t like one coach they go to another team. This is a perversion and makes football a joke over here because this
is against everything football stands for! And is exactly the opposite from the USA. A high school player can`t just search around until he
finds a team or a coach he likes! He usually has to go to the school in his school zone! If he doesn`t like the coach he has to lean to suck it
up and work with it… that is the football way!
But even in the highly unlikely case that all necessary factors for real football are in place (possible to form new team, elected team
leadership agrees to "American system", clubs regulations / charters allow it etc) and players who are willing to play real football are found:
Real Football is really only possible for a short period of time!!! Thanks to the democratic election system! In fact often it is not possible at all
because of the way they have the elections set up... Only a few clubs are even possible in my experience...
Social laws are against real football
Club laws are against real football
Sports associations and governing body rules and regs do not allow real football
Club structures usually do not allow real football
Club bylaws generally don`t allow real football
Sports system usually does not allow real football
Sports mentality usually does not allow real football
So real football is almost impossible over here and if it is somehow possible it is only possible for a few years!
It is so sad that youth football over here is not real football and kids are robbed of the real football experience! Everybody who ever spend
time with a high school football team in the USA will certainly agree with me! And my success proves me right! More about that below...But
please know: I don`t want to seem arrogant and everybody who knows me knows that I am humble and usually not outspoken like this...
however I can`t tell you my story without pointing out what is wrong over here...but now back to my personal story:
Against all odds: A new team in 2015
After taking the coaching job in 2013 I realized very quickly that I wasn`t a head coach at all. Even though I had the title "head coach" I was
not even remotely close to a head coach: In order to build and uphold the foundation of football it is nessesary that the head coach / team
leader is the highest authority of the team. Because how can you reach a high level od discipline if there are several people in charge?!?
That causes weakness vulnerability and contradictions - willfully or mostly accidental - are common! I experienced this over and over again!
A team is only as strong as the teams leadership! And it certainly does not work when the Head Coach is not the highest authority. Usually
here a youth director is the direct superior of the head coach and the youth director is the highest point of contact for parents and even
players. And this boss of the head coach is oftentimes elected by the parents or the players themselves!!! Sounds crazy, right! But the
standard rules here demand it this way and logically military like discipline is not possible! I had to experience this the hard way myself...Over
and over and over again I was told how I had to do things and what I couldn`t do. It was not "my team", it was the youth directors team and I
was just an exercise leader...
How can a head coach lead adolescents in puberty when they know exactly that they don`t have to take part in any exercise or practise they
don`t want to (the sports authorities demand this by default, remember rule No 1?). And how can a head coach lead adolescents in puberty
when they know that their will and needs are more important than the teams needs (remember rule No 2: It is not allowed to impair
self-fulfilment)!!! How can the head coach lead his team when the players know that he is not the highest authority? Ii don`t even need to
mention commitment or trying to push the players to their limits...Players in the USA learn to put the teams needs first, they learn to fight until
they reach the limits, perseverance, willpower and discipline and to "suck it up" and manage the situation at hand! Here however exactly the
opposite is taught!
Over and over I was told by the youth director and team manager what I could do and what I could not do! The youth director was the head
of the team instead of me as the head coach! I was in disbelieve about their mentalities and what was going on there! Wasn`t I hired as a
head coach of a football team?!? I was far, far from it...I could not even decide about my own practice times within the times that were
allocated for my team...The team manager had to approve even though it was my teams field! They also had a fieldhouse available for
practice and it was not my call weather or not it was to cold for the players to stay outside....Football is a winter sport and I wanted to practice
outside but the youth director overruled me and made principle decisions on when I had to practise indoors and when I was allowed to go
outside... I wasn`t even allowed into the locker room at any time!!! That was the kids private place and a coaches free zone!!! (A locker room
in real football though is special to a team as the team is bonded and formed right there...this is where a Head Coach does a lot of important
work but I wasn`t even allowed in...only the team manager was allowed to go into the locker room!!!) The team manager began practices with
announcements and then he handed the team over to me until he closed the practise! I had to stand there like an assistant while he talked
to what was supposed to be "my kids"...But the coaching staff was almost never alone with the team. The team manager and youth director
were at hand and observed practises most of the time. I also had very little contact with the parents because the youth director is the highest
point of contact for them. Parents went to him or the team manager. The team manager usually communicated with the parents as well. I was
not part of parents meetings because I was only "the trainer". "My assistants" were not even my assistants. They were also under the youth
director just like I was. At coaches meetings the youth director viewed all coaches as equal! And during the winter times the youth director
even took over the practices in coordination with the U19 coaches! And the players of course knew: If they didn`t like something they just
had to run to mommy. Cause mommy just needs to talk to the youth director and they would get their will! After all the kids / their parents pay
a membership fee and the youth director works for the members!!!
In contrast: Wikipedia describes a (high school football) head coach as "highest authority for all aspects of his team." Statements like those
or similar are usually in the coach`s contract and him is given full support by the administration, otherwise it won`t work! This is common
football knowledge so I was shocked and could not believe what was going on there, it was a football cub, wasn`t it!?! How could a football
club not know the basic fundamentals of the sport?!? I could not believe how laughable it all was! At that time I was just beginning to
understand the typical German mentality and the German sports system. I quickly realized that all surrounding clubs also had youth directors
and team managers and that their mindset and procedures were similar to where I was coaching. I learned quickly that the German sports
system, the state sports organizations and their standard demands were to blame... I already explained those in detail...
I failed because I was unable to do what I wanted to do to build a great team because I did not have much authority. I tried to talk to the club
leadership but they had no clue where I was coming from. To them it was normal that the head coach was not in charge. Actually I was just a
"trainer" who was allowed to lead exercises. I could not build team spirit and discipline because of that system. Even my regular coaching
suffered because I was unhappy and I felt like I was being monitored all the time. All of this was bad for my health, all that stress and
unhappiness left a mark! So I left the club after about a year (mutual agreement). I interviewed with another team in the area but of course
they did not understand the American concept of football when I tried to explain to them where I was coming from. In fact they did not want to
hear it! They probably thought I was crazy for wanting to be in control to build something great! They could not comprehend the bigger
picture at all
The realization that there was no real football over here left me pretty devastated. I love Football and it was very sad to see that there was
no real football around! I also felt sorry for German kids who wanted to play football or thought they played football when in reality they are
not even close to what real football is! I was in disbelieve that the German system and the German clubs robbed them of that great
I did not do much for about a year as I was to out of shape to get back into bull riding hat gave me the chance to go back to Oklahoma to
"charge my spiritual batteries". During the time in the U.S. I was part of a high school football team and when I came back to Germany in
2014 I felt the strong urge to get back into coaching football over here. Even though I did not have high hopes I gave it one more try! I found
an organisation without a youth team and when I told them about my American philosophy and what I believe football means they surpri-
singly did not look at me like I was crazy. I don`t think they complete understood where I was coming from and what they were getting into but
they agreed to hire me as the head coach of the youth department. I decided to start up an U15 team (age 12 - 15) as this was the closest I
could get to a high school football team age wise (In 2016 the age was changed from 13 to 16) I had to build the team almost from scratch.
Much to my surprise the club agreed to all my terms ( American high school system instead of German system as much as possible, no
interference form anybody within the organisation, not even "Vorstand", they even changed the standard rules and concepts with the help of a
lawyer etc) and I could not believe that I now was truly a football head coach for high school aged kids in Germany! Indeed I was in charge of
everything – just like I needed to be. Only I and my coaches had contact with the kids! However I promised myself that I would quit the day they
don`t let me any- more and I don`t feel like a head Coach anymore. I did not want to go thru all the troubles again. I owed that to my health..
So how was it possible to bring real football to my kids despite the German settings? Well, at first I had no clue that my philosophies were
against the principles of the sports authorities and even social laws. I thought it was just against the German sports culture and typical club
structures - and that would have been hard enough by itself...Over time we realized more and more. We came up with interpretations of those
laws that would still allow us to continue my philosophies. The club engaged a lawyer and even though legally questionable he encouraged us
to go forward. He said when it really goes to court it would be up to the judges..And the club always had my back, their motto was like: "Well, if
somebody wants to sue us then sue us...and then we`ll see what the judges say. Before that we won`t give in!" I am very thankful for their
approach!!! But the Bulldozer realized how successful we were!!! Even when the Football Assn came up with new rules in 2016 that
seemingly made real football completely impossible and I threatened to resign, they stood behind me. With the help of the lawyer we
negotiated with the Assn and we were allowed to change those rules. I guess they were not sure abut the legal ramifications and did not want
a legal battle with us. I completely rewrote those rules and the Assn confirmed that we were the only team in the entire state that complained
about it! Every other team signed the new rules. So looking back it is a miracle that I found a club that put up with all of it and stood behind me.
Why Football and why coaching???
Ever since I was little, sports has been a big part of my life. After trying several sports as
a young kid and teenager I discovered football and immediately fell in love with it.
Why you might ask. Well, for many reasons! Football is very demanding and challenging
for players and coaches alike. It is tough on player - both mentally and physically. Some
people think football is just unplanned chaos! However it is exactly the opposite!Football
is highly planned tactics. And that is where the coaches come in: A Head Coach is the
"master-mind" of the team, he builds the team according to his philosophy and he installs
the tactics and strategies. It is HIS program and he is the highest authority of the team
and he is the face of the team! He is not only an exercise leader, he is more like the
owner of a company! The players have to learn the plays and execute them without
hesitation. During the game those plays are given to the players via codes that only your
team is supposed to understand. There are usually only 25 seconds between the plays -
so the coaches have to read the opponent and find a solution within seconds while the
opponents are trying to read you as well. So a coach is involved in every play and
therefore the outcome of the game! Football is like a mixture of a board- game and a
Coaching Football in Germany
Sure, not everything was like in the US: I didn´t have my own field, instead we had to share it with 2 soccer teams and the other teams of the
Bulldozer (adult team and flag team). But they even switched practice schedules around to accommodate my wishes and I could decide
when and how often I wanted to schedule practices. Also, football does not have the status it has in the US. Therefore many advantages of
playing football are missing over here and it is harder to bind a player to the team...but most importantly, the "Vorstand" (elected club
leadership) agreed not to interfere. Players and parents didn`t even know who they were because my team was completely blocked off from
the rest of the club - just like it was supposed to be! I was the only point of contact for players and parents alike.
I knew I only had a couple of years as a real Head Coach (as explained earlier). And I knew it was going to be hard to find players. Not only
because of the sports mentality over here but also mainly because there are 5 football clubs in and around Duesseldorf... and the
Bulldozer were pretty much the most unknown one...
Our first practice took place in January 2015 and it was somewhat of a culture shock for the handful of kids that came to the field on
early Saturday morning. My plan was clear: First I wanted to install a high degree of discipline. Of course German kids weren`t used to it
since they never experienced anything like it at other sports / clubs but I stuck with it! Bad language was forbidden and players called me
"Coach" or "Sir". For those of you not familiar with American culture: It is quite normal (especially in the south or midwest) to address older
people with "Sir" or "Ma`am". It is also used to show respect.In fact: Parents are addressed "Sir" or "Madam" by their kids quite often).
So the needed respect towards me was implied right from the start - and by the way: Just because we did not go by "Du" (used to address
friends) like it is normal in German football did not mean we did not love each other. And if you find the right kids and continue to explain why
absolute discipline and love are so important it even works here in Germany! At least with kids who really understood football and developed
the will to succeed. A larger problem are parents who don`t want to accept our rules and discipline. We often lost players are did not even
get players because parents just wanted their kid to play a little sports on the side as a little hobby without any commitments and
priorities...this typical mentality brought a lot of stress and grief for me. But I did not give up until I had build strong military like disciple
followed by great love!
Instead of actual practices we oftentimes had team meetings where I showed my team videos about high school football. I guess I found the
right way to motivate them because the kids became committed and poured their heart into it!
Practice Meerting January 2015
Bowl Champion 2015
Bowl Championship Party 2015
At the end of 2015 we gained a couple of more coaches so it looked like we would begin 2016 with a crew of 5 coaches. Unfortunately
Coach Patrick had to leave the team due to his job situation. He was hoping to be able to continue in 2017 though. We lost another coach
in February – also due to work. So the situation was not perfect…
Then the League decided to change the age requirements for the the U15. They changed from U15 to U16 but at the same time limited the
eligible years to 3 (2000 – 2002.). That meant that a couple of kids that were an integral part of the team in 2015 (as the youngest group)
were not allowed to be part of us in 2016. And once again I was dumbfounded about the lack of football knowledge over here: Instead of an
easy solution (allow 2003 kids for one year – 2017 would have been normal) they destroyed a team that played together in 2015 and
forced those kids to go to a U13 team. We did not have a U13 team but even if we did: After one year of U15 (2003 kids were the youngest)
those kids were forced to leave? After they experienced the love and team spirit of the team for just one year?!? This again proved that
teams here do not love each other like we did – otherwise there would have been an outcry… Anyways, our affected kids wanted ro rather
stay and not play for a year than join other local clubs that had U13! The kids loved the team and I loved them so I could not turn them
away. At the same time we received a couple of inquiries from U13 aged kids so I decided to form a U13 team within the U16 team – with me
as a head coach. That way they could be part of the team. The plan was to practice together for the most part and to view it as one
team…that was only possible because the U13 was not supposed to play in a league though. We called the U16 our “Varsity” team and the
U13 was the “JV Team”. Unfortunately the coaching situation got worse and the JVs die not get much attention because the Varsity team
played in a league and we had to get them ready. The JV team practiced with the U16 for the most part but when it came to plays they had
to watch from the sideline most of the time. It kinda broke my heart but I had no choice. We even had to cut a practice day for the U13.
Therefore I am very proud of their achievements. During the U16 pre-season we also scheduled games for the U13 because the teams the
U16 played against also had U13 teams. While the U16 just scrimmaged the U13 played actual games. And amazingly our U13 won all 3
games in dominating fashion. All 3 games were already decided at halftime even though we had only 2 back up players and did not practice
much together! In fact the only time they were able to do "plays" was during the U16 water breaks... But also the U16 won all 3 of their pre
season games and I felt optimistic about the regular season. I know it would be tough though because we were outnumbered and much
smaller than the other teams. And then by the middle of the season we lost all but one coach for various reasons like work and illness
(thanks to the system there is no commitment for coaches either as they all have regular jobs that come first...) The one remaining coach
besides me was not there for most of the time either so I was basically by myself with two teams for most of the 2nd half of the season!
2016 - Growing pains... but still perfect
Trainingscamp Feb 2016
Trainingscamp Feb 2016
2013 - Culture shock
I received an offer to coach a youth football team near my hometown in 2013 when I was slowly getting to old for bull riding. It seemed like
good timing even though I felt that I still had one or two years left as a bull rider. But at the same time I felt that I couldn`t pass on the
chance to become a football coach. You see, it has always be a dream job of mine to be a high school football coach. I never seriously
wanted to be a pilot or an astronaut. And I never wanted to be a college football or NFL coach. I am not exactly sure why I always wanted to
be a high school football coach - I guess it`s because in my opinion football is the truest on the high school level. I also like to work with
youth...So when I got the offer I jumped at the opportunity – I thought this would allow me to live out my dream at least a little bit over here
in Germany. Little did I know how different it was and what I would get myself into...here is my German coaching experience in chronological
order: So I took the offer but I did not quit rodeoing right away but decided to limit my Rodeo appearances substantially until retiring in 2015.
At that time I did not know much about the German spots system. I thought football would be football.
My first coaching Job
Unfortunately I learned very fast that youth Football over here (the equivalent to high school football in the US) was completely different!
Sure, football isn`t done in schools here - but I knew that! I am talking about the sport of football itself: I was shocked that what they called
football wasn`t real football! Yes, the players wore shoulder-pads and helmets, they tackled and scored touchdowns, but the foundation of
football was completely missing!!! Also: I was hired and called a head Coach but I was far from it! I realized: What they are doing here is
NOT football and I could not believe that a so called football club did not know what football is all about!!! But then I learned that it wasn`t
only the club that hired me – all the other surrounding teams did it the same way and I had to realize that this was because of the German
sports system over here and that the typical German sports system does not allow real football!!!
Same System everywhere
Of course I do not know the system and structures of every "Verein" (club) in Germany. But over time that realization about the German club
system grew stronger and stronger. I am writing this part in 2016 and don`t want to give away my chronological coaching experience in
advance but: I have been coaching in Germany for a few years now and therefore know the system of many clubs over here! I have talked
to many coaches and players about it (not only in the state of NRW but also from other parts of Germany). So when I refer to the German
sports system or the "typical club system" etc then this is what my research found to be typical. It might differ from state to state but here in
the state of NRW (and also other states where I know players) the sport authorities are circulating standard club charter regulations
according to German social laws regarding youth activities ( to even receive financial support and fields to play/ practice on etc). And the
contents of those standard charters are what basically almost all clubs that I know of over here go by! So it is no wonder why the clubs have
those structures and systems and it is legit to call it typical etc... But every club has mandatory voting rights and they are without a doubt the
final KO for real football!!! Structures, the election system and the application of German laws do not allow real football because they do not
allow the foundation of what football is!!!
The Foundation of Football
Everybody in the USA knows that the foundation of football is discipline. Every player in high school will confirm that discipline IS football and
that discipline is what they learn first! No discipline equals no football! Young players learn discipline first so by the next levels the emphasis
is not on discipline anymore because it is driven home earlier! Discipline is the foundation because of the complex nature of football!
Discipline also boosts team spirit and will power to a high level! !Also: Without high discipline the sport can become very dangerous very
quick! And discipline does not mean that the kids hate practice. If they did they would not come. In fact if you do it right they even like it. And
because they understand why they need to have it they even discipline themselves!
Like I said before: Here they wear shoulder pads and helmets, they tackle and score Touchdowns but the basic principle is usually
completely missing! So can you still call it football? From an American perspective I have to say no, and everybody who knows football from
the US will have to agree with me! Now you might say: But isn`t this up to interpretation if you define Football by discipline and team spirit?
Absolutely not! Ever since the beginning of Football, discipline has been an integral part of it! It defines it! Here is what the N.Y. Times
(America`s most popular newspaper) has to say: “Discipline is a football coach`s favorite word. And like everything else in football, it`s as old
as blocking and tackling” (Dave Anderson, N.Y. Times). And the Times goes on :”Amos Alonzo Stagg and Pop Warner talked about
Discipline. So did Knute Rockne and Vince Lombardi...”. Also very interesting is the fact that the U.S. Army requires its officer candidates at
West Point Academy to play football in order to learn discipline! Yes, you read this correctly: Even the U.S. Army (known for its discipline)
teaches diciplne thru football!!! I could name thousands of more examples but I hope everybody gets the picture: Football IS discipline! Now
you might say: "But German teams have discipline and team spirit..." I strongly disagree with that:
I know I mentioned it before but will do so again just for clearness sake: The principle of German youth sports is self-determination, sense of
self, youth participation by voting rights and self-government of the youth! However those principles are the direct opposite football!
Because Football is dictatorial structures and military-like discipline! Football is defined by discipline! Mandatory practices for example are
therefore elementary. How can discipline rule if practice- or exercise participation is optional and not mandatory?!? It is impossible! How can
the needed virtues like willpower, perseverance, toughness etc be developed if players can chose to come and go as they please?!? So if a
player chose not to attend practise or chose not to participate in certain exercises during practice - then the virtues of football are
impossible and the definition of football is not existing!
But the German social law even states in § 11 regarding youth sports, youth games and youth social work:” youth shall partake in decision-
making and organization,…youth shall govern itself…”. Even the highest German youth sports authority states regarding youth sports: “
Youth work should be distinguished by participation of young people in decision making…” And this mindset is found on all levels – from
federal sports authorities to state levels and local clubs!!! And where this mindset rules real football is impossible! Why do they want to rob
the German youth of the great football experience? Real Football in Germany is generally not possible and not desired because the
foundation of football is Discipline (in direct contrast to participation in decision making wanted in Germany) and team spirit – meaning
putting the team before your own needs (in direct contrast to "self-determination" and "sense of self "wanted in Germany). Discipline is the
exact opposite of "doing as I please" and "doing as I please" comes from self determination and self-decision-making power that is required
Real football is as good as impossible over here! First the club system and the resulting sports mentality are to blame. A large portion of the
problem however are the (pre-given) typical structures in those clubs - they make real football impossible! But even if a club changes those
structures (highly unlikely because of the mentality and also the club charter and rules): The mandatory democratic election process that
every club has provides the final KO for real football! So is real football even possible? To answer this I have to interrupt my chronological
coaching story and look at the German club system:
At the Beginning of 2017 we lost quite a few of our experienced players. Only 40 percent of our starting offense had experience, our
starting defense only 20 percent!!! Every other player was new! And – just like last year – we lost coaches (due to work) so I was by
myself again. Well, for about 2 Months during the season I had 2 Assistants however because of their German sports mentality I had
to let them go - they hurt more than they helped…
Our first games
Only a few weeks after our very first practice we played our first game and to the surprise of everybody we won! After the first game I found 2
more coaches so we went to our second game with three coaches. And we won our second ever game too! Nobody believed that we only ex-
isted for a few weeks since we had beaten teams with years of experience in league play! Plus we were badly outnumbered and outsized! But
the way the kids behaved and acted was so different from the other teams and everybody was amazed and not only our parents realized how
special this team was. They had never seen such a love for each other before. After the games we scheduled a couple of joint practices with
other teams. And in the summer I invited all my players and coaches to my home for a coach`s bbq, a tradition I kept in future years as well...
Coaches BBQ 2016
Coaches BBQ 2016
Coaches BBQ 2017
My high school football philosophy in Germany
Well, the plan was to join U15 league play in 2016 and only play test games or “friendly games” in 2015. Of course there was no way to get to
the needed minimum player number by February – as demanded by the league. So after I started the team I searched for assistant coaches.
As the Head Coach it was up to me who I selected and hired. Because my American system was not known it was not easy to find the right
people. Because if the other coaches don`t understand what it is about they might destroy more than they help… But soon after I found a
young assistant with even a little bit of coaching experience ( in the German system but thru training he understood and “lived” the philosophy).
After discipline came team spirit and love! And just like in the US this caused high willpower, perseverance etc.The kids became better
members of society because of football! I can honestly say that I had never seen a team that loved each other like our team did. We talked
about mutual love a lot, too! At first it must have been very strange for the kids to openly talk about loving each other (not team spirit, thats
something different). But they quickly understood why it was important. They also saw that it was working. They developed an unbelievable
team love. Over and over we talked about it, especially when new players joined the team I explained what we meant by this. Our kids took a
lot of pride in their commitment, love etc! They did not want to have it any other way because they truly understood football!
Important to me was a personal relationship with my players! How can you talk to them about loving each other without a personal
relationship. So my approach included not only the actual sport of football including it`s social moral type of teaching (leading to discipline,
willpower, endurance, behaviour etc) but also a personal relationship. I believe that those relationships with the kids also determined parts
of our success in football and moral education. And I like to think that I had a close relationship with my players (those who understood the
game and stayed). That meant a lot to me. The kids even came over to my place even though I lived 2 hours away from them. My home was
always open for them. But because I lived so far away and they had to rely on public transportation (no license under 18 here) it took them
2 hours to get to my place by bus and train...But despite the distance the boys came over several times during the year, for BBQs, to watch
college football or even to ride my rodeo practice bucking barrel (some of the guys liked my cowboy ways even though it was very unusual
for Germany). Of course I never asked them or pushed them to like my lifestyle but I always showed them when they showed interested. So
we not only taught them football with discipline, willpower, team spirit and love etc but because of our relationship we also taught them
random stuff like how to ride a bull or how to catch a chicken on a farm. We taught them what their muscles mean in a fight, what their
bodies weak spots are and how to protect those if needed. We taught them how to find back to the water surface while diving and how to
sing karaoke (Ok, we failed the karaoke part). But back to football:
When players truly understand why coaches - especially the head coach - need to be tough on them they still love him back. In fact they are
tough on themselves, discipline themselves and love each other dearly! And we viewed our team more like a high school football team than
a German club team and the players where mighty proud of that! They were completely blocked form the other teams in the club just like it
was supposed to be... There was no youth director, no team manager and no Vorstand who told me what to do and how to do it! I was in
charge of all team aspects! The player viewed me as a role model, father figure and teacher. Sure, there was no actual high school but the
sport and the dangers are the same so I believe that imitating a high school football team is needed to be successful. But over time I even
installed typical high school things like an annual coaches BBQ at my place, Seniors (players in the last year of high school and the team)
and the special circumstances that come with being a senior, yard-signs, receptions etc. Now you might say: "But you are not in the USA."
True that but I will say what I said before: "We play the same sport with the same complexity and the same dangers". And our success
proves me right - not only on the field but also socially speaking: My boys turned into disciplined, strong-willed young man with manners and
character! Football prepares boys for real life!!! Unfortunately this is unwanted in German sports...
Astonished parents conveyed to me how their kids behavior improved because of my American high school football philosophy. When they
asked there sons for the reason of their mind change the answers were usually along the lines of: "I learned that at practice" or "coach said.."
Improvements in school also happened! Players who had to leave the team due to age wrote to me and thanked me that they became better
humans and that they were able to play football with commitment and discipline ad the attached advantages. They saw for themselves how
successful my system was and they never experiences relationships like our team has ever before (and most players did not want to play
football in teams for older age groups because they wanted to honor their memories of the U16. They rather wanted to not play again than to
make a mockery out of football as they saw it)! They were so proud of our philosophy and tough love!They were so thankful that they were
able to experience all of this in Germany I can not imagine why all of those positive changes and experiences are not wanted in Germany. That
- in fact - exactly the opposite is desired here! It makes me sad that so many teenagers in Germany are robbed of all those great experiences!
Retirement as Head Coach - Spring 2018
Earlier I stated why real football is as good as impossible. And if it is it is only
possible for a couple of years. I have been blessed that I was able to be a
real head coach for 3 1/2 years. I think based on my statements regarding the
German system I could have stayed for a couple more years however my
personal situation and a new German law forced my to "resign" from my
position as head coach of the Bulldozer U16. I turned the team over to my
assistant coach Ruffy who had joined us a couple of month prior...
I had pushed back the effects of my personal situation for a while but it was
getting too hard. And when a new German law seemingly disabled the club to
keep the American chain of command I knew the time had come. I was still
giving 100 percent to not let down the kids but the end had come. I look back
on 3 1/2 great years with a bunch of great kids. We won every single league
game, bowl, friendly game or scrimmage - and that with a brand new team! I
end my time as head coach with a record of 32 wins and 0 losses. But it
wasn`t only about the success o the field. What meant a lot was the social
moral aspect! We helped a lot of boys to become better people. Parents were
impressed by the change of behavior and that means a lot to me. My faith was
also a big part of my approach and we prayed in Jesus name before every
game. It hurts me to write these lines...but I I so am thankful for those who
understood what football is all about! My thanks go out to the Bulldozer
leadership, first Jens who hired me and then Thomas, Christian and also
Oliver! Thanks for giving the team completely to me!Also a huge thank you to
the parents for their support. Thanks to my assistant coaches for everything!
Thanks to those teams we had friendly relations with, it was a good time with
yall. Most of all thanks to God for allowing me to coach in Germany!
We have proven that the American system works in Germany and how much
good can come from football..unfortunately this is unwanted by the sport
federations and sports mentality here...
I guess by know you know how much I loved my kids. They were like sons to me (without meaning disrespect to their real parents), but
also like friends in a way (even though I was tough on them when I needed to be). After all we met 3-4 times a week and a certain bond
had been formed. And like I said, it wasn`t just about football and it wasn`t just about the social moral aspect that is part of high school
football. It was also about a personal relationship. So we not only taught them football with discipline, willpower, team spirit and love etc
but because of our relationship we also taught them random stuff like how to ride a bull or how to catch a chicken on a farm. We taught
them what their muscles mean in a fight, what their bodies weak spots are and how to protect those if needed. We taught them how to find
back to the water surface while diving and many more things. And the kids liked to come over to my place. So two weeks after my
resignation the entire team came over for a weekend, camped in my yard for 2 days and just hung out for the weekend. It was kinda like a
farewell weekend. They took a 2 hour train and bus ride to get here (no cars for kids under 18 here – so they all had to take public
transportation). My team coming over to say good-bye meant the world to me!But I knew that when they left after that weekend - that was
it. I was no longer their coach! I enjoyed one last weekend with my kids from Saturday morning until Sunday night. We watched all of our
football videos of the past 3 years, we rode the bucking barrel, we even had a cowboy church service on Sunday morning..but the end
had to come: I was devastated when they left that Sunday night at around 5.30. I told them I loved them, they told me they loved me, we
hugged and they just walked away! That was it! My team, my boys walked away... I had fought my emotions for the last few hours we had
together on that Sunday but seeing them walk away for the final time I became pretty emotional. It felt like my whole world collapsed. I felt
so alone! The kids that I had given so much to – and they had given me so much - just walked away. I know I did not really have a choice
and the decision was the right one in light of the situation at hand but in that moment – seeing my kids walk down that road towards the
bus stop - was pretty bad. It kinda broke my heart and nobody but the Lord will ever know how much I loved them. The final practice a
couple of weeks prior wasn`t as bad because I knew I would see them boys again in a couple of weeks but now, that was it…Even though I
only coached for 3 ½ years as their Head Coach it felt like 10 years. It felt like my life`s work had ended. As a firm believer in Jesus Christ
and my faith being the priority of my life I know I probably shouldn`t say it like this but that is how I felt in that moment...very emotional..
That night I deleted myself from the teams whatsapp group and that was it. I was now officially no longer connected to my team, my boys,
and everything I had build up. That feeling was so helpless! We said we would meet again but who knows what the future brings. Maybe I
can be a guest speaker at their practices sometime... one of my players I am very proud of left for a high school year in the US so who
knows if or when I`ll see him again...so who knows what happens. It hurt a lot after so much time with my kids in the past years. But I was
thankful for the time we had together: "I could have missed the pain but I would have had to miss the dance". Commitment to Greatness!!!
NFL Camp - Coaching with Patriots Star-RB Blount
Houston Texans Home Stadium
2015 - My first year as Head Coach
Aces Bowl Champion
During the year we added one more young coach and concentrated on a tournament that we were supposed to play after the summer break.
We were looking forward to it because it would be the first time this young team would play for something meaningful. To us it was like a
Super- bowl but again we had to face experienced teams that actually played in a league but again we came up on top! We won the
Tournament and so we ended our very first year with a total of 4 wins, no losses) and a nice trophy
Coach`s BBQ - Summer 2015
Awards and Christmas Party 2015
We finished our very first year of existence with a perfect record of 4 wins and no losses. To celebrate our first year we met in December to
review the year and hand out awards (not individual awards though - I am not a friend of MVPs etc because it takes a team effort)
After founding and building the team in 2015 we (barely) had enough players to meet the state football assn requirements so we registered
for league play. Even though we gained limited game playing experience in 2015 we didn`t know much about the league and how we`d
compare. I felt we had a built a good and motivated team but we were always outnumbered (we only had a few backups) and outsized by our
opponents. So the first game was a "great unknown". Everybody - players and coach were pretty nervous ( I guess the kids did not see how
nervous us coaches were) but once we won that first game everybody settled down. We played 11 games in league play that year. We had
two close games during the season, one of them took (half) a trick play (a running back pass to our wide receiver) to open up the running
lanes so we could go back to "cruise mode". In the end we won all of our 11 games. Despite being the youngest, smallest and always
outnumbered team without much experience t we played a perfect season right in our first year!
Windeck Football Cup Champion
After our U13 (well, it wasn`t really a functional U13, it was more like an attachment to the U16 since the U13 almost never practiced
together) played three games we were invited to the Windeck Football Cup, a tournament for U13 teams during an off-week for the U16.
Despite the lack of practicing together (they could only practice plays during U16 water breaks) and being outnumbered again our kids
won both games and with that, the tournament!
Year End Awards Banquet
Both teams finished the year perfect, the U16 with a record of 11-0. the JV Team 5-0. That gave us reason to celebrate at the end of
the year again.
Aces Bowl Tournament
League Championship Party
League Championship Party
Windeck Football Cup
Windeck Football Cup
2017 - Another year...and still perfect
So I was by myself again with a pretty unexperienced team. We went to pre-season camp again shortly before the start of the league
(Coach Patrick came to camp with us due to lack of other coaches at that time) but only played one pre-season scrimmage this year. And
just like last season we were always outsized and outnumbered. We had no business being successful but yet we were!!! The unity of the
team was unbelievable!!! I had never seen a team with this much love, discipline and willpower/motivation!!! We were not successful
because of our athletic abilities, we were successful because of our American commitment, structures and mindset!!! Because of their
military discipline and love the players found a new level of willpower that they never knew was there!!! We won every game and finished
with a perfect season again!!! Unfortunately a team had to forfeit the remaining season shortly after the beginning of league play. So that
year we only had 6 games. We won the closest game by 4 touchdowns, all other games were already decided by halftime. I actually felt
sorry for the kids on the other teams. But what could I do… I only had a couple of backups (and most of the players started on offense and
defense) so even when I had all my backups playing we still had most of the starters on the field! In fact that upset me because when I
wanted to rest the starters I couldn’t! Our defense allowed only 3 touchdowns all season! I am so proud of the boys! They really understood
what it means to play football!!! And they were so proud of their hart work, American style commitment and American system!!!
Winter Bowl Champion
Since there were no games in the fall (some leagues carry over but are short because natural grass fields are closed from fall to spring)
we decided that 7 months without games would be too long (in Germany a club usually practices year round). So we scheduled a game in
February (pre-season would begin in April) and with that created a whole new season. That "winter season" culminated with the game,
the "Winter Bowl". It was not just a friendly, instead we made it an important game: It was played on Superbowl sunday and the winner
received a nice trophy. Because we had so many players with no experience at all it was also important from that point of view. We won
the game 24-8 and brought home another win.
Coaches BBQ 2017
Year End Awards Banquet
Our annual year end party took place in december and once again we had plenty of awards to vive out to our players. Just like every year
prior coach Patrick also supported the event. After all he helped me with camp so he was once again a welcomed guest.
Fall Showdown Champion
Just like with the Winter Bowl during the last winter we scheduled another stand alone game between the seasons. It took place in Nov-
ember and this time we called it "Fall Showdown". Again, we treated it like a bowl game because it was important to us for several reasons:
It was the final game / farewell game for a couple of Seniors / team leaders. Them boys were pretty important to us and we wanted to send
them off in style. I also had a hunch that it could be my final game as well. Anyways, we had a few new players who never played a game
so they needed the experience. And the winner would get a nice trophy again. The game proved to be the most physical game we played
all year and our boys loved the challenge. Our new players received a lot of playing time and we played a freshman QB who was supposed
to lead the team in 2018. In the End the final score was 52-18 in our favor.
2018 - The End
After finishing 2017 by myself without any assistant coaches I was glad to find 2 more coaches for 2018. Like I said before, I wasn`t sure
about the future so having new coaches on board was important. One of them was a senior from 2017 who wanted to support us instead of
going on to play in a U19 team. The other one was a former youth player who had to quit playing because of health reasons. He understood
and lived our American system right away though...
My final practice June 9th, 2018
New Head Coach Ruffy
More thoughts, philosophies and links are available on
In order to truly understand the sport of football one has to understand the American sports system and mindset as it differs extremely from the
German sports system. The American system is well thought-out and and is much more logical than the one in place in Germany - more about
that a bit later on. There are 3 main levels of football in the USA, high school, College and Pros.
Pre-season Camp 2017
Pre-season Camp 2017
Bulldozer social media release
In Germany however it is a completely different story. There are no school sports league and no school teams and school spirit. Schools are
not the heart of the community and schools do not have mascots or nicknames (like Tigers, Patriots Yellowjackets etc) that the student body
identifies with. And because there is no school sport there is usually no professional support for athletes. Sports is not done in schools but in
private clubs - regardless of the sport. So the field they have to practice or play on is usually city owned and is shared with several clubs and
then with all the teams (youth teams like U13, U16, U19 and adult teams) within that club. So most of the time it is even hard to find space to
practice twice a week. Where I coached the teams only had half the field and usually only twice a week...while in the USA the football field is
part of the high school and they practice 5 times a week...Another problem here is that professional coaches are missing. Sports is viewed as
a hobby on the side. Most youth teams I know are coached by fathers. If teams are lucky the find an adult player as a coach but between is
day job, his family life and adult team practices ther is not much time for the youth (and if the guy knows the sport inside and out is a different
So usually there is no school spirit and no school sports over here. And maybe worst of all: There is generally no real football in Germany.
There are several reasons for it: Like I said youth sports is not done in schools but in independent clubs. A club is a legal entity for people to
follow the same interests together and in Germany social life is ruled by those clubs...people who share similar interests form a club to follow
their hobby together. There are stamp collector clubs, garden clubs, crochet clubs, cooking clubs etc...and there are of course sports clubs.
All those clubs are under the German club laws and the fundamental idea is a like-minded union with equal rights for each member. Putting
one Member above another is generally NOT allowed!!! The elected leadership has to adhere to the will of the general membership. So in a
sports club all members have equal rights, no matter if the member is a coach or a player. So how can this work in a team sport!?! So
typically a club is structured based on equality of rights and that can`t work in football. And not only that: Structures generally demands
leadership to be divided via several people, one leader is not allowed! Head Coaches are merely exercise leaders but not team leaders!
Coaches do not have the authority they need to install the foundation of what football is! The legal form club in general does not allow what is
needed for real football! Because obligations like mandatory practices / exercises are not allowed by German regulations! But like I said
above: Football is defined by discipline! Mandatory practices for example are therefore elementary. How can discipline rule if practice- or
exercise participation is optional and not mandatory?!? It is impossible! How can the needed virtues like willpower, perseverance, toughness
etc be developed if players can chose to come and go as they please?!? So if a player doesn`t have to attend practice or of a player doesn`t
have to take part incertain exercises during practice - then the virtues of football are impossible and the definition of football is not existing!
Another reason why in general there is no real football is German social laws in regards of youth work as those laws ask for participation of
youth in decision making. The German sports authority demands self fulfillment and sense of self of youths involved in sports! Clubs go by
these rules: Rule umber one is: Noboby is forced to participate in an exercise and rule number two: Personal feelings of the youth are not
allowed to be impaired. Rule number 3: Youth shall partake in decision making and govern themselves. The sports authority even states that
authority is not desired as youth should govern themselves!!! Now those rules are in complete contrast of what football teaches!!! Youth-Self
decision making is against Discipline and putting self determination and personal feelings over the team needs is against team spirit and team
love! So German regulations demand EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what football is!!! Those three are fundamental needs in football but
impossible where those guidelines rule! Unfortunately this mindset however is found on all levels of German youth sports, from federal sport
authorities, state levels and local clubs. Therefore clubs are asked to structure their activities accordingly and a head coach is usually in the
middle of the chain of command and not where he needs to be, on the top! Now some clubs go by those guidelines more, some less but in
the end the coaches do not have the authority to implement real football!!!
But even if German laws would allow it, even if clubs would fundamentally change their approach and structures, even if clubs would change
their bylaws...and even if clubs would change their philosophies and have fields available (and this is highly unlikely) - even then it would be
near impossible because of the German sports mentality: Youth sports is viewed as a hobby on the side recreational without commitment!
People attend practices when they want to otherwise it would be against German rules), parents want their kids to play a little sports on the
side but without any commitments. And public schools here boost exactly that mindset, instead of supporting a better system that would make
better people and better students out of their students! Schools here always come first and schools here have no respect for club sports and
therefore support the mindset of the masses over here. Clubs here always play second fiddle to school. Sports is done in the youths spare
time but the school does not even respect that: Whenever there is a school function even not related to learning like school trips, school
parties, school open house, teachers birthdays or whatever - kids are forced to miss practice or even games - even if this is during club times
or even during weekends! Practice is in vain because a kid has to attend a teachers birthday event on a Saturday?!? The student and teams
suffers but the schools don`t care! I am not saying that sports should be more important than school BUT: People here don`t understand
what real football does! They can`t comprehend what can be achieved by football if football is done with commitment and not viewed as a
minor hobby without rules and commitment! Football makes better people out of boys much better than school will ever be able to do!!! And
football makes players better students!!! But it is hard to understand for those who never experienced high school football! If society here, if
parents and if schools would respect clubs they would be surprised to see what would be possible to change lives for the better! But the
sports mentality is another main reason why football in Germany is a perversion!
There are many more reasons why football is not football in Germany: For example that there are several teams within a club, or that players
can chose their clubs and change their clubs, or that they can play as long as they want to or are healthy... I will explain in detail later on...
It breaks my heart that German youth are not only robbed or the great high school experience but also the great sport of football!!! Scoring
TDs and tackling is not football when the foundation is completely missing!
High School Football
High School Football
Update - September 2018
After my resignation my assistant coach took over the team and I had hoped to still go back for some practices in the future. Coach Ruffy
had promised to invite me as a "special guest coach" and allow me to take over the team for special practices or the pre-season
camp.However Coach Ruffy was released by the Bulldozer a few month after my resignation. The club went back to the regular German
structure and philosophies and the adult team took over the U16. So "my team" is not there anymore and I realize that I will most likely
never be able to coach again in Germany.