Kolkata : German Football Association (DFB) Vice President Hans-Dieter Drewitz on Thursday said it is easier to manage U-17 teams during major tournaments than the U-20 lot due to club commitments and the players turning professional.
The German side is here to take part in a FIFA U-17 quarterfinal tie against Brazil on Sunday.
Asked if it is easier to prepare an U-17 team than a U-20 team for a World Cup or the U-21s for the European Championships, Drewitz said: “Definitely yes. I was with the U-20 team in South Korea and we had very big problem of having our players together.
“The boys here also don’t meet regularly. One time a month. It depends on the group also. We don’t like to take away the players too often from the clubs.”
However, at the level of U-16 and U-17, it is not quite often, he said, adding that there are more problems of U-19, as they get professional and then it is a problem.
Germany were knocked out in the pre-quarterfinal stage by Zambia in the FIFA U-20 World Cup which took place in May this year where England were crowned champions.
Drewitz said the youth development is monitored from the U-11 level with 366 talent hunt centres spread across the country.
“It’s a huge co-operative system. It starts with the U-11s. There are talent centres from U-11 to the U-15s. The incorporation starts with the clubs. We have 366 of these talent points and centres spread all over Germany. Apart from that, we have 54 centres which are then in clubs,” the German FA official said.
“There is not only first and second Bundesliga clubs who have these talent centres within their clubs but also non-professional clubs have talent centres where they teach the boys,” he added.
Keeping in mind those who cannot turn professional, their education is not compromised as teachers travel with teams during major tournaments also and in the European U-17 Championships in Croatia earlier this year, the players even gave their exams on site.
“All of the boys will not be professional in the end, so there are also 39 elite schools, elite schools of football or sport that take care of the boys. So, not only the training site, we look after the education aspect as well in case they don’t make it as a pro,” Drewitz said.
“And that’s why we focus a lot on education even when we are travelling to the final tournament. So in the European Championships in Croatia we had two teachers travelling with us. One doing the homework with the boys for the linguistic side English and German, and one covering science.
“We had in the group stages two teachers in Goa for 14 days. So the boys were all doing homework. We even had the case during the European Championships. Between two matches they had to write final exams. They wrote the exams on site as we had teachers with us,” he added.
A budget of 10 million is set aside by the DFB for talent development programmes while the elite schools and non-professional talent centres get 30,000 euros per year for their survival.
“There is 10 million which we put aside for talent development programme by the DFB. The clubs have talent centres and they look into their finances,” Drewitz said.
The elite schools as well as the non-professional talent centres get 30,000 euros ($35,488) a year as support which keeps them going, he added.