Montag, 20. Juli 2009

Brandin McClay (SpVgg Weiden) - A young men alone in Bavaria

Brandin, is this your first time in Germany? How do you like Bavaria, so far?

Brandin McClay: Yes this is my first time here in Germany, well besides coming here for trials in March 2008. Bavaria is very different from what I am used to from back home in the states.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: You are a very young player. You played for the University of Southern Connecticut in the NCAA DII. How comes that you signed with SpVgg Weiden. Who was in charge of your transfer?

Brandin McClay: I signed with SpVgg Weiden because I wanted to develop as a top level player and felt the college game and the whole college experience was holding me back. If I wanted to become a professional footballer I would need to dedicate all of my time to developing in the sport and it was hard for me to balance academics and soccer at the same time. Michael Carlson, Ronald Neumann, and Jesko Onken from FARA organization was in charge of my transfer and are now full time agents for me.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: I already mentioned your age! It is not common to leave home in this age and to play soccer in a different country. What did your parents said, when you told him about your plans?

Brandin McClay: Both my parents were all on board with pursuing my dream. My father had the chance to go professional but the league folded and never got his shot which is why he is so supportive of my career. I have a great family. All of them are wanting me to follow my dreams and to go as high as I can.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: How does the club support you? Are you just playing soccer or do you continue your studies here in Germany?

Brandin McClay: I am playing full-time soccer here at Weiden. I don’t plan to study here in Germany as I have dedicated my life to this sport but you never know what the future holds.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: College soccer in the USA is very different compare to the German soccer, especialy in the higher leagues. What is the main different?

Brandin McClay: In my opinion, the biggest difference between the styles of play is the pace, everyday intensity, and the technical ability.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Your team is doing very well this year. You are on the top of the table and have 9 points ahead. Do you think that the SpVgg Weiden will get promoted and what is your personal goal for the rest of the season?

Brandin McClay: I have my high hopes on our team getting promoted into the Regionaliga and feel we have a great chance and the team to do it. My personal goal for the rest of this season is to continue to develop and keep growing as a person as well as a player. Specifically I will work on the mental aspect of the game, technical ball work, and the big one… my German!

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: To have this kind of succes, the quality of players must be very good. How many times do you practice during the week? Are the practice sessions various here in Germany?

Brandin McClay: We usually train on average 7-8 times a week and match once a week. The training here is much more intense and much more is expected of you. Training is where you fight for your position on the team so everyone is competing every second.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: The soccer crowd in Germany is very different compare to the American spectators, especially on the collegiate level? Can you desrcibe us the German soccer culture!

Brandin McClay: The German soccer culture is amazing to see. To see all the fans every game supporting their teams decked out in scarves, face paint, jerseys, and the list goes on, is incredible to see. They are loud all the time singing their team chants, hooting and hollering the whole game.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: What are you doing after the practice sessions. How does your life looks like in Germany?

Brandin McClay: After training sometimes I will get a massage from our physical trainer, sit in the sauna, shower, and then drive back to my flat. In my free time I like to go to the gym, work on fitness, hang out with friends, and go to church.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: It is sometimes hard to adopt to any new culture. Do you have any problems with the food, music, humor or even TV?

Brandin McClay: At first the food was very difficult for me to get use to. Now my body has adjusted and actually grew to like the food. They actually listen to the same music as we do in the states, so that wasn’t an issue for me. I don’t watch much T.V but I do miss some of my favorite shows.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Did you had the chance to see any other places in Germany? If you did, can you recommend any places?

Brandin McClay: I got to see very little but loved Nuremberg! The city was great and lots of fun.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: There are always funny things happen in a soccer team. Can you give us a story from your team or your personal experience!

Brandin McClay: During pre-season of this year we ended up having training indoors where there were basketball hoops set up. So for a warm up we split the team in half and played a game. To see them try and shoot the ball and dribble was hilarious. They would be all alone for a easy lay up and instead they would trip over the ball and then try and chuck the ball into the hoop where most, actually all of the time the ball would go into the bleachers. To be there and to see this was something else.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Thank you for your time and good luck for you and your team?Do you have any reommondation for players from the US, who wants to play in Germany or even turn pro?

Brandin McClay: If you have the dream of playing professional soccer in Europe or anywhere in the world, I would tell you to fight for you dream. As a professional and living the dream as we speak, I can tell you it is not easy. But if you want it that bad you have to fight for it everyday. You must train everyday, eat properly, and most importantly stay mentally fit. I hope I can be an inspiration to young players who want to become professional themselves. I want to reach out to young Americans who have the same passion for the sport as I have and help them reach their goal as well. Every player must find their own way of dealing with adversity as it comes often in this business. What has been keeping me strong through is my faith in Christ.

Brandin, thank your for the interview. The GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER Team wish you all the best for your future.

Mittwoch, 1. Juli 2009


With a 4:0 victory over long term rival, England. The German U-21 National team won the European Championship in Sweden,this Monday. The DFB (German soccer association) is the first european soccer association, which currently holds the European Champion in the U-21, U-19 and U-17 at the same time. Gonzalo Castro (23.min), Mesut Özil (48.min) and Sandro Wagner (79.min/84.min) scored the German goals. With one goal and two assist, Mesut Özil (SV Werder Bremen) was the player of the game. What a great success for the German soccer.

Interview with Goaly Luis Robles (1.FC Kaiserslautern,2.Bundesliga and US National player)

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Congratulation to your success with the team! Your team, the 1.FC Kaiserslautern still has the chance to be promoted to the Bundesliga. What are the reasons for the team’s success this year? I ask, because you didn’t finish last season, too well?

Luis Robles: We have a very good team spirit. Everybody gets along with each other and we have a lot of fun. The coach is also a very important. But I give also a lot of credit to Stefan Kunz, our Manager. The coach and Stefan Kunz did a really good job during the summer. The Manager brought in the right player and the right sponsor. It is a very good combination.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: You also did a good job in the season so far (16 games)! I believe you had your best game against 2. Division Powerhouse SC Freiburg in the middle of December 2008? Do you remember the game?

Luis Robles: I remember the game, because it was very important for us. It was the last game in the first round. The team wanted to finish strong and wanted to give our great supporter a nice present for Christmas. It was very cold but the Fritz Walter stadium was almost with 55.000 people packed. SC Freiburg had at the beginning a couple of chances, which I saved. I had a good game, but I will give most of the credit to our defense. Our defense is very strong and they made it very easy for me to perform well.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: The 1. FC Kaiserslautern is a very big club with a lot of tradition in the German soccer history. The supporter base is huge. How is it to play for a big club like 1.FCK?

Luis Robles: The fans are just great. It is a lot of fun to play in front of them. It is in general a great atmosphere in the town. People start to recognize me more often and I have to sign some autograph while I am having a schnitzel. I think the fans appreciate my hard work and my attitude.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: You were drafted in the 2007 MLS Super Draft by D.C. United! But you decided to sign with the reserve team from 1.FC Kaiserslautern and to play overseas? What did your parents, coaches and friends think about your decision?

Luis Robles: My parents are always the first to talk to. They always supported me and backed my decisions up. They knew that I always wanted to go to Europe to play professional soccer. I also have a good relationship to my old college coach Bill Irwin from the University of Portland. He played professional soccer in the UK, so he knows what he is talking about. My old club coach is from Aachen, Germany. He is also an important impact for my decisions concerning soccer.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Did you only try out for 1.FC Kaiserlautern or did you have some other German teams lined up?

Luis Robles: It is kind of a funny story. A Day after D.C. United drafted me. I received a call, if I wanted to try out for Carl Zeiss Jena, who played at this time in the 2. Division. I arrived on a Tuesday in Kaiserslautern, because my agent is from there. I wanted to practice with any team, because the try out with Jena was until Friday. I practiced with the Kaiserlautern reserve team to stay in shape and after the session, they offered me a contract.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Who was responsible for your transfer to Germany and how did you get in contact with him or her?

Luis Robles: I was in contact with Josh Simpson, my old teammate from the University of Portand. Josh played for Millwall in England and signed with 1.FC Kaiserslautern. He basically was my connection to my current agent.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: You left the USA after you had a great college career at the University of Portland? Was it a big adjustment for you to a different culture and a different style of soccer?

Luis Robles: Germany is a big difference compare to the US. I am really blessed with all the support. Josh is a great help and the club did also a great job. There is also a big American military base in the Kaiserlautern area, which makes it even easier for me. But I am in a great situation to have already a friend here. The people are very nice here.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Josh Simpson (Canadian National player and former University of Portland team mate) signed a 3-year contract with 1. FC Kaiserslautern in 2006. Did you talked to him before you decided to play in Germany?

Luis Robles: Yes, we always stayed in contact even if he just played two years for the University of Portland. He played for Millwall in England before he signed with 1.FC Kaiserslautern. He introduced me to his agent, who organized the try out in Germany.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: By the way, the Kaiserlautern region is very famous for their great wine. Do you have any Germany food or wine recommendation?

Luis Robles: I tasted wine, before I came to Germany. But you are right the wine in the Kaiserlautern region is great. I really like the wine fest, because the weather is nice, the people are in a great mood and the food is fine. It is a very nice atmosphere during this time.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock) is also a former University of Portland player; do you have any contact to him or other American players in Germany?

Luis Robles: Since Heath played for the same school. We were via facebook in contact. The school network also helps us out to stay in contact with other American players.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Thanks a lot for the interview. Do you have any tips for young American players who would like to play on a professional level in Germany?

Luis Robles: My only advise for other players are to work hard and use every opportunity. Even if you don’t sign with a big team sign with a smaller team and work your way up. It might take some time and it will be not always easy, but trust me it will be worth it.

Thanks a lot Luis for this interviiew. Have a lot of fun in Germany and good luck with your carrier.