Finding a football club in Germany is much easier than you think. Although finding a full professional team can be difficult, it is certainly not impossible to find a decent semi-pro side that play in the 6th tier (Landesliga) and lower.
Although you might think 6th tier football is a low standard, it is far from it. Most clubs at this level and even down to the 8th tier train 3 times a week, with one game a week. Depending on the club, you will have excellent training facilities, maybe even play in proper stadiums with decent attendances, and of course play with quality players.
(Tivoli Stadium, home of Alemannia Aachen, Regionalliga West (4th Tier)
How much will you be paid?
If you are thinking financially, don’t expect to get paid much, if anything at all, as a foreigner. However, that is not to say that money is not plentiful at those levels. Some established local players or those who played in Bundesliga youth teams, can make a decent amount of money, sometimes around €100-€200 a week, if not more.
For those of you who don’t know, I am from Ireland and played in the 6th tier of German football for a short while, along with a brief trial with a pro team in the 4th tier. I have been in touch with clubs all over Germany, in places such as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf, to name just a few.
How difficult was it to find a team?
Not too hard at all. Over the last few years, I’ve probably contacted dozens of teams from the 6th and 7th tiers of German football. How did I do this? Mostly through the club Facebook pages. I would simply give them an overview of my playing history along with a short highlight video. More often than not, I would get a reply inviting me directly to training or putting me in touch with the coach.
Germany is excellent like that. The clubs are well organised and are open minded when it comes to prospective players. In their mind, there is no harm in allowing a player to train. If they are decent, then they may have found a new signing, and if not, they simply ask the player not to return. It’s a no lose situation.
I have contacted lower league clubs all over the world and sometimes they are like an exclusive VIP club. Whereas in Germany, even at what is an excellent level, they are very welcoming and open.
So you’ve decided you want to go to Germany to play football, and now you want to know what the next step is.
First of all, I would choose a city that you would like to live in. Let us say, this is Dusseldorf. Next, I would just google “football clubs in Dusseldorf”. Find a club, and click on it. Regardless of the division, find the club on “Fupa”. From there, you will be able to find clubs in the 6th tier and 7th tiers (the levels I’d recommend for foreign players needing to prove themselves). Have a look at the league table and start researching each club by looking at their website and social media pages.
Next, simply reach out to clubs via their Facebook or by email if you can see one on their website. Explain that you will be moving to Dusseldorf, and you’re wondering if it would be possible to train with the club. Also give a brief playing history and highlight video if you have one. Use correct spelling, grammar, and be professional. Also, if you don’t speak German, apologise for sending the message in English.
Do you need to speak German?
On the matter of language, don’t worry if you don’t speak German. As long as you make an effort and learn some words, German people are really helpful in helping you understand. It may be hard to communicate with players in a social setting, but on the pitch I never had any problems.
Honestly, it’s as straightforward as that. If you get a reply, they may give you the training times and ask you when you would be available to attend a session.
Once you have a training session organised, you will want to look into housing and work. You will not make enough in these leagues to survive, so you will need to find a part-time job at least. This can be hard as an English speaker, and that is why is it better to stick to larger cities as the chance of finding English speaking work is higher. I made the mistake of going to a small German town, where practically nobody spoke English.
But all of that is for another post. For now, you know how to contact clubs in Germany and get yourself involved in a training session. The rest is up to you in terms of how you perform to get signed. Be humble, and contact clubs at a level you think you realistically you can play at. If you are an underage national team player or just released from a professional academy, then contact teams higher up the leagues. But if you are unknown and need to prove yourself, then be prepared to work your way up. Germany will give you this opportunity.
The main thing I can say is be polite and mannerly, and professional in your approach. So don’t just email a club saying “hey can I hav a trial plz”.
Just don’t. I get a lot of questions on my football fitness Instagram page, and all I’ll say is if some of you message clubs like you message me, don’t expect a reply!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Playing football abroad can be a rewarding experience.