TSG Hoffenheim and FC Cincinnati launch joint training initiative in Ohio

Since the end of 2020, the Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim have been working together with the American Major League Soccer club FC Cincinnati. Together, the two founding members of the Common Value Club Alliance - which aims to find young football talent, identify joint training pathways and make a social impact - launched a training programme for goalkeepers and coaches in the state of Ohio at the end of May.

A total of 15 selected coaches from local clubs and regional college programmes turned out at the state-of-the-art Mercy Health Training Center for the launch of the series of workshops, which took place under the supervision of U19 goalkeeping coach Philipp Birker and Paul Rogers, head of goalkeeping at FCC. In the theory section of the kick-off event, the participants first had the opportunity to gain insights into the philosophy of goalkeeping at TSG Hoffenheim and to learn about the requirements for modern goalkeepers in the Bundesliga and the top American league. In the subsequent practical part, the participating coaches had the chance to learn about the structural design and methodology of a goalkeeper training units on the basis of various in-game situations, such as positioning for crosses or low crosses behind the defensive line. 

Exchange of ideas to develop both clubs as well as their associated regions

Birker spent ten days with the first team and the academy set-up of FC Cincinnati to help prepare this long-term training initiative. For Michael Rechner, goalkeeping coach for the TSG first team, this was an important step that contributed to much more than just the personal development of his protégé. "Paul Rogers is a top goalkeeping coach whom I hold in very high regard. The internship is also a great opportunity for Philipp to further his education, but it also serves as an exchange of ideas and approaches for the further development of both clubs in this area," says Rechner.

''Everybody matters''

Roger's view of the joint initiative underlines the fact that TSG and FCC are linked not only by a clear focus on top-level sport and a desire for constant innovation: "It is important for us to maintain a close connection to our region and to build up a community of goalkeepers who can develop further.'' With programmes like these, the ultimate aim is to establish a regional goalkeeping hub in the state with the fourth-largest German population in the US. "I've always felt very fortunate when I've had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at other clubs and learn from coaches working at the highest level. It made me better and paved the way for me to get into the world of professional football. With this programme we now want to open doors for goalkeepers from the region, create opportunities and ideally develop them here in the academy. Everybody matters - everyone counts."

Impressive infrastructure and enthusiasm for football

In addition to the observation period and workshops, Birker, who plays a central role in goalkeeper scouting and squad planning for all the academy teams at TSG, also had time to visit FC Cincy's home game against New England Revolution at the TQL Stadium, which cost 250 million US dollars and was inaugurated in 2021. "I am very grateful to the management of both clubs for this exciting and educational experience. The region is insanely passionate about football and lives and breathes for their club. FCC's training ground and stadium are impressive even by Bundesliga standards," said Birker as he summed up his experience. He was also impressed by the club's "very professional and friendly environment. But what excited me most was the openness and warm-heartedness with which I was received. I spent the game in the stadium alongside general manager Chris Albright. It's crazy to imagine that in the Bundesliga."

In the future, Birker and Rogers will spearhead TSG and FCC's efforts to maintain an active exchange with goalkeeping coaches in the area and build an extensive network of goalkeeping coaches in and around Cincinnati. Everybody matters.

This is the Common Value Club Alliance

The idea of the Common Value Club Alliance, CVCA, is to create a comprehensive development platform for all partners that promotes excellence on and off the field while creating value for people, the planet and society. Three continents. Three clubs. One mission.

The CVCA is open to expanding this network in sport as well as working together with other organisations, companies and government institutions.

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