As part of the ongoing partnership between FC Cincinnati and TSG Hoffenheim, the two co-founders of the Common Value Club Alliance, which aims to take an integrated approach to identifying talents and promoting holistic development pathways together in addition to creating societal impact, launched a development program for goalkeepers and coaches in the Queen City.
About 15 selected coaches from local clubs and regional college programs showed up for a free goalkeeping clinic and demonstration at FC Cincinnati's Milford training complex spearheaded by FC Cincinnati’s Director of Goalkeeping Paul Rogers and the German Bundesliga side’s U19 goalkeeper coach Philipp Birker.
During the theory part of the session, local coaches had the chance to take a look behind the curtain of both club’s philosophies and learn about the requirements for modern goalkeepers at the highest level of American and German soccer, followed by a Q&A session.
In the second session of the day, Rogers and Birker led a training session on the field, giving participants the opportunity to learn about the structural development and methodology of a GK training session. The event was capped with a tour of FCC's Mercy Health Training Center and unpresented access behind the scenes of the practice facility in Milford.
Exchange of ideas and knowledge to advance the development of both clubs and the region
The workshop was embedded in a 10-day knowledge exchange between Birker and FC Cincinnati’s Director of Goalkeeping Paul Rogers, as well as FC Cincinnati 2 Goalkeeper Coach Ryan Coulter.
Michael Rechner, Director of Goalkeeping at TSG Hoffenheim, described the measure as important that serves much more than merely the personal development of his protegees.
”Paul is an excellent goalkeeper coach whom I value a lot. The visit is not only a valuable training experience for Philipp but also helps both clubs to exchange ideas and knowledge to advance the development of both our clubs within the goalkeeping departments,” Rechner said.
Turning Mercy Health Training Center into a regional hub for goalkeeping
Rogers' view on the exchange underlines that both clubs share much more than the same emphasis on a high level performance sporting environment and focus on an innovative approach.
“I've always thought I was lucky as a coach to be invited into some clubs, whether it be (English) Premier League, Championship, be around higher level coaches," Rogers said prior to the clinic. "When I was younger and had those opportunities, that's what ... makes you become a better coach. So I feel like if you can open a door and allow other coaches in … it gives them an opportunity to see what's done at a different level.”
Community centered programs like these aim at supporting Rogers' vision to turn Mercy Health Training Center into a regional hub for goalkeeping.
“I think the dream outcome is developing goalkeepers in the academy here. You bring coaches into the club, and you promote them either within the MLS or to wherever you want to be. And that's what you want. I mean, my aim is to be at a club and be successful at the club. So everyone I can bring in around me, whether it's a player or if it's a coach on the goalkeeping side, I want them to push on to where they want to be, hopefully as to strengthen the club. You can strengthen the club by actually leaving the club in a positive manner, or you're here for a long term and we have success at FCC,” Rogers said.
Professionalism, inclusivity and openness – living values in the Queen City
In addition to shadowing Rogers and Coulter and the coaching clinic, Birker, who is also responsible for goalkeeper scouting and roster planning in Hoffenheim’s academy, attended FCC's home game against the New England Revolution at TQL Stadium on May 21.
“I’m very grateful to both TSG and FCC staff for this outstanding experience. The area is absolutely crazy about soccer and enthusiastic about the club. The training center and the stadium, as well as the fan base, is absolutely spectacular – even for German standards,” Birker said.
He also pointed out the club’s “professionalism, inclusivity and openness."
"What I was most impressed with was the openness and warmth I was welcomed with. The fact that I had the chance to watch the game next to [General Manager] Chris Albright says it all. That would be unthinkable of in the Bundesliga.”
For the future, Birker and Rogers envision to extend the relationship with the local coaches and build out the network of talented coaches in and around the Queen City.
About the Common Value Club Alliance
The mission of the Common Value Club Alliance, CVCA, is to create a holistic development platform for the partners that promotes excellence on and off the field, while adding value to the people, the planet, and society: Three clubs. Three continents. One mission.
The CVCA is open to expend its network with like-minded sports clubs as well as governmental institutions, NGOs, corporations and other organizations.