Coaching the next generation of World Cup winners: UCFB student Noel van Dam thrives in Germany’s biggest football academy
UCFB Wembley student and football enthusiast, Noel Van Dam, was earlier this year offered the unique opportunity of an internship with German professional football giants HSV in Hamburg. HSV are the only team who have competed in Germany’s top professional football league, the 1. Bundesliga, in every season since it’s foundation in 1963 and can boast the largest football academy in Germany. Football Business & Marketing student Noel gives us his insight into his experience at the renowned German football club:
“My internship was at the football school of HSV-Fussballschule, the oldest and biggest football school of any professional German football club. Every year around 10,000 young people aged between 6 and 13 years go to one of the camps offered by the HSV football school. In total over 70,000 young people participate in a camp. My task was to coach these young people, as well as plan the camps and execute the marketing plans.
“HSV was founded in 1887 and is the only German football club that has played every single season in the 1. Bundesliga (highest division in Germany), giving them the nickname “the dinosaurs”. Furthermore HSV have won six league titles, three German Cups and even the Champions League.
“However, the last few seasons have been tough. HSV finished 16th out of 18 last season and just missed relegation by firstly equalising with Karlsruhe in the last minute of the away leg of the play-off and then winning the game in injury time. The famous clock in the Volksparkstadion, indicating how many years HSV has played in the first division, has been running for nearly 52 years now.
“During my trip I coached in a number of towns in and around Hamburg; Bad Schwartau, Buchholz, Sylt, Bergedorf, Hedendorf, Norderstedt and Walsrod, which all offered new experiences depending on the weather, the quality of the pitch and the range of young people and organisers, with a special mention to the organiser of the camp in Sylt, a former professional who still at the age of 70 is able to keep the ball up more than 5,000 times.
“Part of my work placement included attending two HSV games; a season opening friendly against the Italian side Hellas Veronas where we experienced match day hospitality, and the first home game of the season. For the latter we waved flags in front of the player’s tunnel when the players made their entrance, a very special moment. HSV turned the game around in the last 10 minutes and the atmosphere in the stadium, with over 50,000 people, was amazing.
“The manager of the HSV-Fussballschule invited me back to Hamburg again in October to support on two more camps. This time I was no longer an intern and had even more responsibilities. More camps will start again in 2016 and I am looking forward to be a part of the coaching team again.
“On this occasion I would like to thank UCFB for making the whole thing possible. I want to also thank HSV for offering me such a great internship where I was able to learn so much about football coaching and working with children. In addition to that, I met so many amazing people during that time and enjoyed every moment I was out there.”