Frankie Hejduk gives us the scoop about training in Germany

Frankie flashing his skills for the U.S. national team  Credit: Ben Radford /Allsport
My club is located in Leverkusen, a small city just outside of Dusseldorf and close to Colone (Koln), Germany. I live about fifteen minutes outside of Koln.

I really like it here, because I am close enough to the city, but I am far out enough to where I get to enjoy the wilderness. I live right across from this huge forest that has deer, elk, and wild boars all totally cool animals to have right in your back yard. I love to go out into the forest and hang out and relax.

The city of Koln is like a second home for me. I have a good amount of down time, and I like to spend most of it there. I recently joined a sports (health) club where I go to do extra workouts and to meet people.

I also like to spend time chillin in the cafes in the center of town, or checking out the shops and stores in the city.

We typically have training once a day, at around 3:00 except for on Tuesday, when we have two sessions, including a killer morning fitness workout.

So on a normal day for me, I usually go to Koln in the morning and grab breakfast and a couple of cups of strong German coffee. After I get myself going, I check out some shops and then head off to training.

After training, I will usually go to the gym to work out for a few hours, and then find a nice restaurant and grab a steak or some Thai food. Then, it is off to one of my favorite Irish pubs where I will finish off the day with a pint of Guinness and a European soccer game-my favorite part of the day.

As for the training itself, we never train for longer than two hours, and it is usually right around 90 minutes. Training is tough though we rarely have any breaks as we move from one drill to another continuously throughout the session.

Our coach only speaks German, which was tough for me at first. The players battle hard during training. It is so intense because everyone is totally going 100 percent and trying to win starting positions.

There is no bad blood within the team though, and if someone fouls you, you know its not a negative thing, but just part of training.

During practice, we do a lot of 1 vs. 1 and 2 vs. 2 training to goal or to small goals.

Whatever we do, it is in tight spaces with some sort of limitation on the number of touches that you get. We also play 5 vs. 5 with offside being called where you have to mark one player all over the field.

It is really important to be able to play under pressure and not give the ball away, and to be totally responsible for the man that you are marking. We do a lot of the same drills each week, and it seems as though being totally consistent week in and week out is a big part of the German game.

We have one training session at 3:00 Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Friday is usually a really easy session where we work on free kicks and then maybe play 8 vs. 8 for 20 minutes or so before working on some shooting, or whatever you feel you need work on before the game.

When we play at home, we always stay in the team hotel which is actually attached to the stadium.

In Germany they call this the "trainingslauger," or the sleep before the game. They want to make sure that everyone sleeps well and is ready for the game, so we stay in the hotel. We also have a big team meal the night before the game, and then a team meeting with a tactics session before bed.

After the game, we have another team meal with the players and their families, before everyone goes there separate ways.

The morning after the game, there is also a tough training session for the players that did not play in the game, and a light stretch and jog for the players that were in the match the night before.

We then have the rest of the Sunday off, and then Monday is our only free day of the week. Unfortunately, the nearest beach with decent waves is a few hours trip away by plane. So I usually spend my day off relaxing out at my place in the country or in the city center of Koln.

Being a player with a top club in Germany is not always a glamorous thing, but it is unbelievable to be able to play at this level, and I am so glad to be part of one of the best teams in all of Germany.


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