One hundred youngsters train for five days in line with Bundesliga youth training centre standards – a launching pad for further international projects.

A week of soccer training in the style of budding professionals: that’s what the "Bundesliga Football School" made possible for 100 highly talented players from Israel between the ages of 13 and 17. From July 22 through 27, the girls and boys spent a week focusing not only on their technique and game tactics, but also on mental preparation, fair play, nutrition and lots more besides. They were taught by experienced coaches from the Bundesliga clubs and the Israel Football Association (IFA), which also made its training grounds in Shefayim near Tel Aviv available for the week. 

The event marked the official premiere of the "Bundesliga Football School", following the pilot project that had been held at the same location last year. Everyone involved considered the event an all-round success: not only because of the intensive training sessions for the young players and the professional dialog between the German and Israeli coaches, but also in view of the cultural exchange between the two countries and among the youngsters taking part.

Perseverance and performance are what count, not background or religion

Young Jewish, Muslim and Christian players competed against each other to achieve sporting victory in a fair game of soccer. What counted was performance, tactics and the will to win – not the players’ ethnic backgrounds or religious beliefs. That’s what made the Bundesliga Football School a practical lesson in positive interaction and intercultural understanding in the crisis-ridden Middle East.

The team of coaches – which included representatives from Bayer 04 Leverkusen, SV Werder Bremen, the German Football Association (DFB) and the IFA – rated the performance of the youngsters very highly: six of the participants were awarded gold certificates, which in Germany would ensure them a place in a Bundesliga youth training centre. Thirty-four other players received silver certificates, thus attesting that they are very close to the level of proficiency of talented young players in Germany.

Praise also came from Israeli officials: both Eli Cohen, the country’s Minister of the Economy, and Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Labor Party and opposition leader in the Knesset, were impressed by what they saw on their visit the training camp and praised the idea the behind it.

Given the overwhelming success of the event, there was unanimous support for organizing another "Bundesliga Football School" in Israel next year.