How a Rhinelander started to become a professional footballer in the United States
Kansas City American women’s football is different from this country: the players there are stars, often better known than their male counterparts. Katharina Oelschläger was born in Düsseldorf and moved to the United States earlier this year to become a professional there.
Katherine is 19 years old. He lives in Kansas City, studies psychology at a local community college and enjoys bowling or going to restaurants with friends in his spare time. So far, so good for a young woman. But Katharina Welshlager is also a soccer player, twice MVP, known as the “Most Valuable Player” (i.e. “Player of the Year”) and received the highest stipend offered by her coach. And he has big goals: “I want to play in the Olympics,” he says.
His passion for football started like many others: “I have a brother who is four years older than me and has played football since childhood. And since I wanted to do what my older brother did, I just started playing, ”says Katharina. First in the home garden, “one or the other had a bloody nose,” he says, later at the club. The road that took him from Mirbush’s small club, where he grew up, was a long way to Kansas City. Borussia Mচnchengladbach and two broken collarbones played a role. But first things first.
For two years he bothered his parents that he too wanted to play football, as Welshlager tells us today. His mother was initially skeptical: “He probably didn’t want to spend a rainy weekend on the football field like my brother,” she says and laughs. At the age of eight – he never stopped bothering his parents – he was able to convince his father. He promised to occupy the days on the football field. “During my first training with the boys’ team at ASV Lanc, I didn’t even wear proper sportswear, I came wearing long, striped pants,” he says. At the time, he was in the United States for the first time. “Some of my families live in America. We went to them when I was eight and I really liked it there,” he says.
He played for the boys team for four years. Then came the invitation from Borussia for a trial session. He was eleven years old when he moved there. He played there for about seven years before graduating from high school and moving to America. Today he says playing for the boys team for a long time has shaped him and taught him a lot that has little to do with sporting achievement. “As the only girl on the boys’ team, you quickly learn to assert yourself. My coach once said that girls should play with boys as much as possible.
In Borussia Mেনnchengladbach he received the best education he could. At least today he says so. “Playing for Borussia at such a young age just doesn’t feel good from the outside,” he said “I learned a lot there, which I still benefit from today.” Personal development: discipline, ambition, following the rules “We were encouraged to work with the trainers ourselves and not always call the parents immediately. That’s how you grow up fast. The system is tough, if you don’t keep going you’ll be out, but it will really get you ahead, “said Welleslager. Not too much time: “I’ve also played in different elections, at times it has become too much,” he says.
After graduating from high school, he really wanted to go to America. On social media, he became aware of an agency that arranges and applies for scholarships. But then Katharina Welleslager broke her collarbone twice in a row. For him, that means a break of about two years. “In addition to good school grades, the app also needed videos of your games. So I was able to do it right after my injury break. Two years later, it wasn’t necessarily my best performance, ”he says.
So the break means he finished first at a community college and not directly at a big university. As a rule, you study in a community college for two years before transferring to a university. These have higher requirements, but also offer a direct four-year apprenticeship. “But when you’re playing for a community college, there are better opportunities than just playing on the bench. That way you can make a name for yourself and gain experience. The broken collarbone was actually something good for me,” says Welleslager. .
And Kansas was apparently the right choice: he has been named MVP twice so far, and the third will be a record. Last year he led the players in statistics. The women’s national coach, Vlatko Andonovsky, took part in one of her matches and was recently invited to a pro team trial. It’s going very well.
In America, the training of female soccer players is used differently. “Fitness is a priority here, but those who have learned a lot of tricks and techniques in Germany have an advantage here. And fortunately I’m fast too,” she says. , Much more money and time is invested in their training and promotion. In Germany, almost every effort goes to the men’s team, “said Katharina Welleslager
But it’s also a different philosophy, people in America are proud of their athletes. Your trainer summarizes this philosophy, says Welleslager. “After we were undefeated in the spring, he said: ‘Be humble when you win, be kind when you lose … but don’t lose’. That’s the attitude here,” he says. In German it means something like: “Be humble when you win, be merciful when you lose, but don’t lose”. “Although I naturally wanted a different outlook on women’s football in Germany, I had no reason to leave. It’s easy to combine education and sports here,” she said.
He then spent Christmas and New Year at home in Germany with his family. “I’m very excited about it. It’s very quiet here after the season is over, and we’re starting to get a little homely,” he says. And he has already announced to his brother that he may be ready to play a football with him. After all, he was already his first opponent.