Knappenschmiede International in India

Just like last year, a delegation from the so-called Knappenschmiede, the youth academy at FC Schalke 04, took part in a visit to India at the beginning of November. Academy coaches, Kai Brock and Tom Albrecht, visited both Chennai and Kolkata. "It was a very intense journey with many impressions that are anything but commonplace," said Brock.

The blue-and-white delegation landed in Chennai in the south of India in early November with a few things to do on their list. In addition to training sessions, coaching training and cultural exchange, interview appointments and a visit to the German consulate in the Indian city were also on the agenda. During the one-week stay, the Schalke coaches worked closely with partners from the German Football Academy (GFA) and the School of Sports (SOS). During their stay, the Schalke instructors trained 30 players who been selected to participate via a so-called football marathon. A total of 92 school teams took part in the 12-hour tournament. In addition, Brock and Albrecht led grassroots training sessions with the Indian coaches, and later put the learned theory into practice in the evening training sessions with the young soccer players. The trip also included visits to several schools.

After seven days in Chennai, the trip went further to the northeast of the country. In Kolkata, the capital of the West Bengal region, the S04 coaches also carried out training sessions with several other coaches and held several training sessions in cooperation with the GFA. In addition, the Schalke coaches also led a training session featuring the U15 selection of West Bengal. According to Brock, the meeting was very interesting and instructive for both the young footballers and the German coaches. “Once the cultural and linguistic barrier was overcome, we quickly focused on the sport and put together a training session that benefitted everyone,” said the coach. The coaches also visited the All India Football Federation, where they spoke with those responsible about the importance of football for the economic and socio-political development of the country.

“We are very happy with our trip. We have fulfilled our tasks, have made FC Schalke 04 better known in the respective regions and were able to bring Indian football fans closer to the football we play here in the so-called Ruhr area,” Brock said as he reflected on the trip. The coaches were also able to take part in some exciting experiences, outside of those gathered on the football field. “India is a very special country. It has not only overwhelmed us because of its size, but also the enormous diversity has impressed us immensely.”

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