Since 2012 Schwaben has partnered with Hamburger Fussball Verband (HFV) in Hamburg, Germany for an International Exchange Program. Every other year HFV hosts Schwaben in Germany and Schwaben hosts HFV in Chicago/Buffalo Grove.
The purpose of the program is to:
We woke up the kids to get ready for breakfast. After breakfast we all got together in the dining room and one by one sent the kids to their family day. The coaches and our German hosts took a bus and 2 trains to St. Pauli stadium. When we got there we were amazed by the atmosphere in the stadium.The fans of St Pauli were very energetic, loud, and enthusiastic. Coach Razvan waved a flag to support the home team. Although it was disappointing we didn't get to see them score, (0-0). the environment made up for it.
After the game we walked through the dome (carnival) to grab something to eat . All coaches chickened out and didn’t want to go on any of the rides. Instead we walked what felt like hours to the shopping mall. The streets were crowded, everyone was out enjoying the sun and we walked through the pride parade. We arrived and the mall was crowded. Coach Eric decided to walk back to the hotel. The rest of us stayed there for an hour and took the train/bus back to the hotel.
We waited in anticipation for the kids to come back. The coaches were getting worried when no kids came to the lounge at 7:45, so we went outside and there were 10 kids hanging around stretching family day as long as possible. By the time the last family returned, all the kids were talking, laughing, and wanting the day to continue. Everyone had a great time. Special call out to the sisters of the German players for making new besties with the Schwaben girls.
We were very happy to see their smiles and hear about their great experience from today.
We woke up after a good sleep. We thought we would have more problems sleeping during the night this week due to jet lag but so far so good. We went for breakfast and had bread with Nutella and butter, eggs, cucumbers, meat, cheese, and bacon.We had a bit of rest time after breakfast.
After downtime we went to practic. It started to rain really hard so we had to move our stretching inside. Once the rain stopped we went back outside and continued practicing. After practice we had falafel and fish for lunch. We had downtime before our games.
The best part of today was watching and playing the games. After the games we ate dinner and the team got a reward to go to ALDI.
We had breakfast and then we played with the German kids for around an hour and a half. We were having a lot of fun! We are getting competitive so we will get better in soccer which is exciting.
After lunch they went to our rooms to hang out. We talked and played foosball together with them, there were no teams we just played randomly. We had a lot of fun with them, they definitely have the same energy as we have.
After break was over we went back to the fields. We played 6v6 like scrimmage .We played against different German players. We would say today, compared to the first time we played with them, was much easier because we are now used to their style of play. For example, as a defender I have gotten to know them and their moves so it was easier to block them.
As a goalie it was really fun, they played really well so had more challenges. Also talking to other goalkeepers I learned new things.
As a striker I had a good challenge, they had more experience in defending and I had fun playing with them and I learned new skills to use to get past defenders and how to shoot better. We also tried to learn new German words from them.
We woke up and ate breakfast, filled up our water bottles then we drove in a bus to the city for sightseeing.
It was raining, the city was very foggy, cold and also very pretty. We saw the big harbor, old brick buildings , and we also saw graffiti.
When we arrived we walked on the dock to reach the boat we were sailing, the name of the boat was Claudia. We saw a big cargo ship named COSCO. There are over 1000 containers on the ship. We also passed a non-nuclear submarine from the Soviet Union, it is 92 meter long and can reach New York without being spotted.
After that we saw warehouses that originally used to contain salt, coffee, and tobacco.
We got off the boat and we walked down a stairwell and walked in a tunnel that the workers used back then to walk from the city to their workplace. We took pictures with the background of the city.
Then we came back to the tunnel, some took the elevator and some walked up the stairs.
After that we went to the philharmonic concert hall. It has the longest escalator in Europe. We took the escalator and went outside to see the view. We were able to see all of the city. After that we got to walk around and explore.
We took a break and ate until the heavy rain stopped. Then we walked to the US consulate.
There was heavy security before going in . We learned that the first US consulate in Hamburg was in 1791! After we learned facts about the US consulate in Hamburg we got to ask questions, We learned why it’s important to keep good relationships with your neighbors and other activities the US consulate does.
We also got pins with the flags of Chicago and Hamburg and took pictures.
After we walked, the bus picked us up and took us back to have dinner.
Our favorite part of today was the sightseeing and playing foosball, and soccer.
First we got to the airport , it took a while and then we traveled to Frankfurt. The flight was fun. Once we arrived to Germany we drove in a bus to HFV then we ate and practiced.
We also took a walk in the area . After the walk we practiced. The pitch is really nice here . We were tired but it was still fun . Afterwareds we went back to our rooms
The next day we started early, we were up at 6, we got out of the room at 7:30am with breakfast at 8am . Breakfast was good there were many options to choose from.
After breakfast we practiced with our group then took a break for lunch had rest time. After resting we went out to practice with HFV German players. The practice was fun, we showed we are level below and need improve.
After the joint practice we had dinner and some free time. We played foosball and visited each other's rooms.
After breakfast, we had some free time until we had to get ready for a friendly tournament with St. Pauli, HSV and HFV. All of the teams were very good. We played hard but lost all of the games. We were able to score 1 goal against St. Pauli. After the tournament, we had lunch with the players that are coming to Chicago in October. Each of us sat with our exchange partner. When lunch was over we went to our rooms to shower and have an hour of rest. Next we had 5v5 round robin with Schwaben only players. When the round robin was over, it was time for dinner. After dinner we each had a chance to tell the group what our favorite part of the trip was. Many of us said it was family day, some said SUP boarding, 2 of us said the tournament this past weekend 1 said the HSV stadium tour and 1 said the tour a city hall. Next it was time to pack. We needed to be completely packed before bed tonight because we need to leave at 5:00am tomorrow.
The coaches woke up us at the usual time of 7:30am and we had breakfast, the same one we’ve had every day, at 8:00am. After breakfast, we put on our swim suits and got on the bus at 9:00 to go into Hamburg for SUP boarding. After a 30 minute bus ride we arrived, got instructions, put on our life jackets and got on our boards. We SUP’d through the canals, which was lots of fun, for about an hour and then came back to our starting point. At first it was kind of hard, but got easier after we’d done it for a while. Some of us fell off, Kevin fell in the water 2 times. Shresth sat down on the board and used it more like a canoe, which was a lot easier.
Once we were done, we got back on the bus and came back to the hotel and had pizza for lunch. When lunch was over we had an hour to rest and then had the finals for our foosball tournament, which was won by John and Jacob. After the tournament was over we again had about an hour to rest and then went down to the dining room. After we were all there, Coach Thomas surprised all of us and brought in a birthday cake for John and Anthony, who turned 13 today. First, we sang happy birthday in English and then those of us that speak Polish sang it in Polish.
When we were done with cake we went out to scrimmage with the coaches. Next, we had dinner. After dinner we went out for some more scrimmaging and then came in to watch the HSV v FC Nürnberg game. We went to bed at half time.
Today HFV hosted a season opening tournament soccer tournament for local teams. This was a season opening tournament and the games were only 12 minutes long. One advantage of the short games was, there was only about 45 minutes between games and we got to play 5 of them. We played 2 games before lunch and 3 after. For lunch, we had pasta. Desert was Jell-O and pudding. We were undefeated in our bracket and then lost our semi-final and final games. After the tournament we went to the food stand and had drinks and burgers/brats/chicken & pork shoulder. Next, we all went to our rooms to shower after which we had free time. Most of us went back outside to play more soccer and then came in for dinner. After dinner we played a bunch of games with the coaches until it was time for bed.
Today we woke up and went down for the usual breakfast of deli meats, breads and hard boiled eggs etc. In Germany, breakfast is not Matthew’s favorite meal. After breakfast most of us were picked up at 9:00am by our or German families for family day. The rest of us were picked up at 10:30 because our players had been at a camp in Denmark and didn’t get home until very late last night.
Jacob and Shresth were each with the same family and got to hear German music in the car, played ping pong and then went to the pool. Their family had a dog named Dexter that was fun to play with. In the afternoon they went to the Dom, an amusement park in downtown Hamburg, the haunted house and roller coasters were lots of fun. After a really good dinner, their family brought them back to the hotel.
Matthew played black light mini golf, and then had lunch of pork patties, bacon kabobs and steak at his host family’s house. After lunch Matthew played PS4 with his player and then also went to the Dom, where he saw several other Schwaben teammates who were there with their families. His favorite ride was the “Spinning Thing” that spins and you stick to the wall. He then went back to his host family’s house for dinner before coming back to the hotel.
Today we woke up and had breakfast, it was the same food as the rest of the week: bread, cheese, ham, salami, etc. We had some time to just hang out before practice. By the time we were ready to go out it had started to rain, which continued through most of practice. We did 1 v1s, 3v3s, and promotion/relegation. We then showered and had a good lunch consisting of chicken, pasta, rice, green beans and pudding for desert. After lunch we had a Foosball tournament. Then, it was time for our pregame briefing and game with HFV, which started late because of a storm. HFV was very good, after their first goal, the goals came raining down on us. Even though we lost 0-15, we played hard. When the game was over we showered and had dinner. After dinner we watched the St. Pauli game while some of the others played foosball and hung out in our rooms.
Today, after we ate breakfast we took a bus to the port of Hamburg for a boat tour of the port. We saw large container ships being loaded and unloaded and learned about where they went and what they shipped. We saw ships in something our guide called swimming docks, which allow a ship to drive in and then raise it out of the water for maintenance. We also learned that Hamburg has around 2,500 bridges! After the tour we went to the German headquarters of Unilever for lunch, their cafeteria was awesome! We also got ice cream in one of their company stores, they own Ben & Jerry’s. When we were done eating, it was time for our shopping spree! First, we went to the HSV team store & then to the Adidas store. Brady got a HSV jersey customized with his name and number, at the Adidas store he bought a shirt for his sister. Seth also bought a jersey as well as some gifts for his family. When we were done shopping we went to the town square, in-front of the town hall, played cards, hung out and had more to eat. Brady shared some Asian noodles with Okan. We also met Coach Thomas’s parents, as they came to visit. After the bus took us back to the hotel, it was time for dinner. Seeing as some of us had eaten at the town square we weren’t very hungry. After dinner, we had a 4v4 tournament which was won by Seth, Matthew, Brady, Jacob and Coach Dennis. When the 4v4 tournament was done, we formed 2 teams of 11 captained by Coach Thomas and Coach Razvan. Coach Thomas’s team won. Coach Thomas’s dad played in both the 4v4 tournament and the 11v11 game. After soccer, it was time for bed.
Today after we had breakfast, we got on the bus to go into the city for a tour of the Hamburg City Hall. After about a 30 minute bus ride we arrived at city hall, where we had to wait about 10 minutes for our tour guide. Once our tour began we learned lots of really interesting facts about Hamburg and Germany as well as got to see many of their amazing rooms. One of the things we learned was that Hamburg, like Chicago had a great fire in the 1800’s, theirs was in 1842. After the tour, it was time for lunch, we went to Subway. After lunch we got to walk around a mall, in groups of 6, for about 45 minutes before we needed to leave for our tour of the US Consulate. While we walked around, we learned you have to pay to use the bathroom and some of us bought some stuff. After a 30 minute walk, we arrived at the US Consulate where we had to wait for about a half hour before we could enter. We all had to go through security before we could go in. Our tour guide told us about what a Consulate does and showed us many rooms in the building. When we got back to the hotel, it was almost time for dinner. After dinner, we went out to the fields and played soccer. We got to stay up late tonight, to watch part of the Bayern / Tottenham game. It was another great day in Germany!
Coach woke us up at 7:30 today. We got up, changed and went to eat breakfast. The choices were deli meat, breads, cereals and hard-boiled eggs. We then took a tour bus to the HSV stadium where we saw the academy and 1st team training facilities. While we were at the training facility, we saw a couple of their academy teams practicing. It was cool to watch them practicing free kicks. We then went to the team museum and took a tour of the stadium. On the tour we learned lots of information about the stadium and the history of the team. We got to see a couple of VIP suites, the team bus parking, the visiting team changing room. We were pretty hungry after the tour so we got to each lunch at the stadium. We came back to the hotel, rested for a bit and had practice with the German kids who are very skilled & fun to play with. Sammy got to talk to his German partner’s dad which was nice. After we practice we showered and had dinner, which was deli meats, hard-boiled eggs, pasta and salad. We had a trivia game after dinner where the coaches asked us questions about the stuff we learned at the stadium tour. After trivia, we went back on the field and played soccer with each other. We’re really looking forward to our future days in Germany. Lastly, we’d like to wish Ricky’s dad a Happy Birthday!
After our parents dropped us off at O’Hare we all bought food and waited for our flight to Frankfurt. The whole team sat together on the flight to Germany. Seba sat by Kuba and Shresth. Anthony sat by Chris and Coach Thomas. After we arrived in Germany we explored the Frankfort airport and bought some more food. We had a very short flight on a smaller plane from Frankfort to Hamburg and were greated by representatives of HSV after we got our bags, which took forever to come out. We took a really nice bus from the Hamburg airport to our hotel. After we got to the hotel we had lunch, got our rooms, changed and went outside for practice. There’s a field at the hotel! We had dinner and watched a tournament of adult teams at the field, went for a walk and then went to bed. We were super tired.
The next day we after we woke up, we had breakfast and then had a practice. After practice we went for a walk to the store to buy candy, but it started raining and we had to come back. After lunch we had our first practice with the kids from HSV, it rained almost the whole time. The HSV guys play really good. After practice we had dinner and went for another walk to the store for candy and made it this time, because it stayed dry. When we got back we watched some of the St. Pauli game v Bielefeld game and went to bed. It was neat to hear that one of the St. Pauli players came to Schwaben in 2013 as part of our exchange program and coach Thomas played for Bielefeld. After the first half of the game, we went to bed.
From October 15th to October 25th Schwaben AC hosted the Hamburger Fussball Verband (HFV) for the 2017 International Exchange Program. The players had combined practices with the Schwaben AC players followed by team dinners.
The Hamburg players enjoyed a variety of activities and events while in Chicago and Buffalo Grove. They were invited to the German Consulate for a presentation, lunch at The Bean and walked the Lake Shore Path to The Adler Planetarium, visited Stevenson High School, friendly against Chicago Magic 2003/4, International Exchange Tournament, Family Day with Schwaben player, Willis Tower/Skydeck, lunch at Lou Malnati's, Navy Pier, trip to shopping mall, and more!
We were sad to see them go home. But thank HFV for the lifetime memories created. See you in 2019!
Today is Family Day with the German players’ families. Thomas woke us up at 7:30 with breakfast at 8 o’clock. For breakfast there was scrambled eggs, sausage, deli meats, yogurt, cereals, bread & rolls, fresh juice, and hard boiled eggs. After breakfast we went upstairs and got ready to be picked up by the German family day parents at 9 o’clock.
Tyler’s Family Day
Tyler was picked up by Marvin Hinsch’s mother Nadja and partnered up with Charlie and his family day player Jason and his mother Petra. The six of them visited two of HFV’s soccer training grounds and then went to a place called the “Fun Arena”. The Arena has trampolines, pedal go-carts, mini-golf, and a laser maze (which was impossible). In between the Arena activities we ate pretzels and apple juice with sparkling water. After the Fun Arena we visited Marvin’s really nice house which is called a ‘Flat’. At Marvin’s house we played FIFA 2016 and Minecraft on his PS4. In between video game playing we played some foosball games. I was dropped off at 8 o’clock and had a great day. Thanks Marvin and Mrs. Hinsch.
Alus’ Family Day
Alus met with his German player Tommy Nguyen and took the subway to downtown Hamburg. On the subway to Hamburg we exchanged gifts. We met Tommy’s father at the subway station in downtown Hamburg and he took us for a tour of the city. For lunch we had pizza and it was just as good as we get at home. After lunch we went to the “Dome” carnival which is next to the FC St. Pauli stadium. From the Dome we went to a family birthday party and I met his relatives and some of their friends. We played soccer and rode bikes around the neighborhood. The dinner was steaks and various vegetables and birthday cake. I was dropped off by 8 o’clock and also had a great day. Thanks Tommy and his family.
Coach Thomas told us we had to pack up our clothes tonight and tomorrow we will wear our black puma pants, orange exchange shirt, and exchange hoodie for our flight home to the United States. We will be able to sleep in a little longer tomorrow as we’ll leave for the Hamburg airport by 11:30 for our 3 o’clock flight to Frankfurt and then our 5 o’clock flight from Frankfurt and arrival into Chicago around 7 at night.
Light’s out at 10!
Today Thomas woke us up at 7:30 with breakfast at 8 o’clock. For breakfast there was scrambled eggs, sausage, deli meats, yogurt, cereals, bread & rolls, fresh juice, and hard boiled eggs. We both had toast, cereal, salami, and hard boiled eggs. After breakfast there were the quarter final foosball games and then we picked up our tour bus at 9:30 in front of our hotel and went to the Hamburger SV stadium for a private viewing of the team training session and a tour of the stadium.
Our HSV tour guide was named Nico and took us to the private viewing of the training session and a tour of the stadium. HSV is the second oldest sports club in Germany and has teams in baseball, boxing, cricket, cycling, hockey, handball, darts, golf, and gymnastics. Watching the training session was great. The players are very big and physical during practice. After training we were able to get autographs of the players and took a team photo with USA Olympic player Bobby Wood. After the training we went to the stadium restaurant and had sausage & fries with apple juice and water. When we finished lunch we went on the stadium tour which started in the team museum and then to the field and VIP room. Nico said the stadium holds 60,000 fans which is twice the size of the FC St. Pauli stadium we saw earlier this week. HSV has played in the top division of the Bundesliga since 1963 and have a clock in the stadium that continually runs showing how long they’ve been in the Bundesliga. We saw visitor locker room and the press room for interviews of the teams after the games. At the end of the tour we were able to go to the HSV store where some teammates purchased HSV jerseys but we didn’t buy anything.
We returned to our hotel at 3:30 and met downstairs at 4 o’clock to get our shoes on and greet the HFV players for our final combined training session and BBQ dinner. We were partnered up our German family day players for a soccer tennis of 4v4 teams which was fun and was great to play with the German players. After the soccer tennis we were put into 5 mixed teams and played 7v7 until about 5:30.
After training we all went up and showered and the HFV players showered in the locker rooms and all met for the BBQ dinner at 6 o’clock. For the BBQ dinner we had sausage, 3 types of seasoned pork, baked potatoes, pasta salad, potato salad, baked tomatoes, cucumbers, and cole slaw. After dinner Coach Christian and Coach Thomas thanked the players and coached in both German and English and each player was given a white Adidas jersey with red stripes and the Schaben Hamburg FV soccer exchange logo on the front. That was really cool! We all put on our new white Adidas jerseys and took a final group picture with the Hamburg Schwaben flag, and the US and German flags. We were all upstairs around 8:30 and light’s out at 10!
Today Thomas woke us up at 7:30 with breakfast at 8 o’clock. We both were late for breakfast by a few minutes. Breakfast was egg & tomato omelets, sausage, yogurt, cereals, bread & rolls, fresh juice, and hard boiled eggs. Charlie and Christopher both had white bread with butter, sausages, and yogurt. Coach Thomas told us about setting up a Foosball tournament where teams were made by picking a piece of paper with a number on it. Players with the same numbers were a team. Charlie is teamed up with Chase and Christopher is with Alus. First two games of round 1 started at 9 o’clock where Charlie & Chase won their first game and Christopher & Alus lost.
Today we do not have any sightseeing events but do have a combined scrimmage game with the HFV players this afternoon. Since we were late for breakfast we both needed to come down early at 9:30 to help setup the goals for our morning 6v6 tournament that started at 10 o’clock. Coach Thomas’ team won the tournament again.
After our 6v6 tournament we showered and came down for lunch. Food for lunch was a bit different today. We had baked chicken legs, steak fries, Bulgarian yogurt with cucumbers & herbs, yellow rice, vegetable soup, and yogurt. Desert was chocolate pudding, rice pudding, and vanilla sauce topping. After we ate lunch Coach Thomas told us about what laundry items we were to place in a laundry basket upstairs and play the remaining round 1 and round 2 foosball games. We all went upstairs to get our laundry together and played our foosball games we had go to our rooms and rest until 3:30.
We met downstairs at 3:30 to get our shoes on and greet the HFV players when they arrived for our combined 11v11 scrimmage at 4 o’clock. The scrimmage was fun and was great to play with the German players. The final score was 4-3 and Euan had a hat trick. Way to go Euan!
After training we all went up and showered and came down for dinner at 6 o’clock. For dinner we had deli meats, cheeses, bread & rolls, yogurt, tomatoes, and pickles. Christopher and Charlie both had white bread with butter, pickles, and yogurt. After dinner we picked up our clean laundry in Tyler’s room and got ready for a futsal tournament on the futsal court. After the futsal tournament we showered and had our round 3 games of our foosball tournament. Light’s out at 10!
Today we were able to sleep in an extra hour and Thomas woke us up at 8:30 with breakfast at 9 o’clock. For breakfast we had scrambled eggs, sausage, yogurt, cereals, bread & rolls, fresh juice, and hard boiled eggs. We picked up a tour bus in front of our hotel at 10 o’clock and went to the Hamburg City Hall for a tour.
The original Hamburg City Hall was destroyed by a fire and the current building was finished being built in 1897. The Hamburg City Hall building is divided into two sections, one is for the Parliament and the other is for the mayor and local government. We were able to see both the Parliament and local government chambers. There are over 600 rooms with most having combinations of marble, granite, felt wallpaper, leather wallpaper, large framed paintings, and murals. Some of the murals told stories of life in Hamburg or it growing into the city it is today. The types of wood used in the rooms was hickory, pine, mahogany, oak, and walnut. The two chandeliers in the Great Room each weigh 1.5 tons.
After the City Hall tour, we went shopping in downtown Hamburg. First store we went to was the Adidas store. A lot of players bought their favorite team jerseys, shirts, soccer balls, and soccer shoes. The next store we went to was the Hamburger SV store. Eryk bought an HSV team scarf and Mitchell bought a few HSV pens to add to his collection (he bought an FC St. Pauli pen too). For lunch Coach Thomas bought us German bratwursts from a bratwurst stand near the Adidas store. There was a very cool street performer that was painted grey to look like a statue. He was very cool and funny when he made a movement as people walked by him on the sidewalk. The final store we went to was the Puma store which was back near City Hall. A few players bought Puma gym shoes.
Coach Thomas ran into the Hamburger SV head coach while we were walking back to the tour bus and we all took a picture with him. That was really cool.
We got back to the hotel and we went upstairs with our shopping bags and came back down for an 8v8 scrimmage game. Both of us were on the winning team so we each received one point in the HSV jersey competition.
After training we all went up and showered and came down for dinner at 6 o’clock. For dinner we had chicken, crepes (spinach, plain, marmalade), watermelon, bread & rolls, deli meat, pickles, and potato salad. After dinner of us went out and took shots on goal and played with some of the local German kids on the turf field until 8:30. We went up and took showers again and then met in the TV viewing room at 9 o’clock to watch the first half of the Olympics Men’s soccer semi-final match Germany vs. Nigeria. Lights out at 10!
Thomas woke us up at 7:30 today with breakfast at 8. Scrambled eggs, sausage, cereals, bread & rolls, fresh juice and hard boiled eggs. We picked up a tour bus at 9:30 in front of our hotel again and went to FC St. Pauli stadium for a tour.
Our FC St. Pauli guide was named Frank and he was very knowledgeable on every about FC St. Pauli who is the cross-town rival of Hamburg SV. St. Pauli is actually a sports club that has teams in rugby, baseball, boxing, chess, cycling, roller derby, softball, and table tennis. FC St. Pauli currently play in the second division of the Bundesliga and their stadium was renovated back in 2009 and can hold almost 30,000 fans. We saw both locker rooms, and the players exit from the locker room was a long black hallway with red spray paint graffiti and a giant red Jolly Roger skull and cross-bones across the door. From there we went thru the player tunnel going out onto the stadium field. There were workers taking care of the field and we were told to not step onto the field. Frank showed us the VIP area where fans with VIP tickets could go and eat and drink for free and he also let us see some of the more popular skybox suites. The three best skyboxes were the Captain Morgan theme room which looked like a pirate ship from Pirates of the Carribean and had a sail fish mounted on the wall. Astra beer theme room which was all red and white with Astra logos on the walls. Second was the FC St. Pauli Throwback room commemorating their 2010 team which made it to the first division of the Bundesliga. At the end of the tour we were able to go to the FC St. Pauli store where we each were given a 5 Euro credit on anything 10 Euro and higher. Antonio bought a brown wallet with the FC St. Pauli crest on the front and Matthew unfortunately didn’t find anything that interested him.
We got back to the hotel around 12:30 and went straight to lunch. Lunch was different from the last few days which was a nice surprise. There was Schnitzel with a red curry sauce on the side, red beets, sliced tomatoes, sliced baked potatoes, and for desert there were crepes with apple sauce, and chocolate pudding. After lunch we all hung out in our rooms until 3:15.
At 3:15 we met in the cafeteria for a tactical discussion with Coach Razvan and Coach Thomas before our combined practice the Hamburg HFV boys at 4 o’clock. Coach Stefan from Hamburger Fussball Verband organized the practice and drills today. We were split up into 4-5 player teams with both German and Schwaben players. The German players were really nice, friendly, and spoke pretty good English. Antonio’s favorite drill was Coach Stefan’s and Matthew liked the 6 small goal 3-3 drill that Coach Thomas ran. Sorry Coach Razvan! ;) The training session ended at 6 o’clock and afterwards we were all introduced to our host German player for Family Day. Some of us already knew and met our host player but some of us didn’t.
After training we all went up and showered and came down for dinner at 6:30. For dinner we had various pasta noodles, meat sauce, tomato soup, fresh salad, and grated parmesan. After dinner went Aldi for snacks and maybe a few sweets. We bought some chips, gummi bears, Oreos, and water.
After Aldi we put the snacks and water in our rooms and all of us went out and took shots on goal and played with some of the local German kids on the turf field until 9:15. Showers and lights out at 10!
Thomas woke us up at 7:25 today with breakfast at 8. Scrambled eggs, sausage, cereals, bread & rolls, fresh juice and hard boiled eggs. We picked up a tour bus at 9:30 in front of our hotel and went to downtown Hamburg near Hafen City. From the waterfront we hopped on a tour boat and took a tour of the port, locks, and waterways around Hafen City. We saw a lot of different types of shipping boats with the largest boat being able to carry 12,500 shipping containers, the regional shipping boats that deliver to ports in northern Europe hold 1,200 containers.
The boat dropped us off close to the Unilever building where we met Andreas who worked there and treated us to have lunch in their cafeteria. We had the choices of freshly prepared burgers, breaded chicken, sausages, French fries, fresh fruit, salads, and pastas. After lunch Andreas took us to the rooftop where you have a great view of the waterways around Hafen City. The Unilever building was built in 2009 and was voted the most modern and energy efficient building in the world. From the rooftop we took an elevator to the ground floor and Andreas treated us to soft serve ice and toppings at the Happiness Station ice cream shop. After our ice cream we walked to get our bus and on the way we stopped at the Elbphilharmonie Pavilion which had over 35 sound horns that you could put your ear to and hear different symphony music.
We hopped on the bus and took it to the US Consulate in Hamburg. The first thing we noticed was all the security guards had machine guns as well as a handgun. Before going into the Consulate we had to go thru a security building and give our phones, cameras, and if we had water bottles we needed to take a drink to prove the liquid wasn’t poison or something bad. Our tour host was great and we learned quite a few interesting facts about this Consulate. First, it was founded in 1790 and named a wealthy Scottish man John Parish as the first US diplomat in Hamburg. He was chosen by George Washington because his wealth and people he knew would help the United States get goods shipped from Germany. Another interesting fact is that from 1939 – 1945 it was the headquarters for the Nazi party of northern Germany. The commander had a bomb shelter built in the basement but was discovered after the war to have been faulty when built and would not have survived a bomb dropped from a plane.
We got back to our hotel around 6 and ate dinner which was pastas, hard boiled eggs, salad, bread & rolls, and potato salad. After dinner we had a team training session that was 4v4 games and other soccer drill games.
Lights out at 10! Good night…
Thomas woke us up at 7:30 again today. We are participating in a 4 team 8v8 soccer tournament today on the turf field outside our hotel. For breakfast there was hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, bread & rolls, cereal, and yogurt. After breakfast Coach Razvan held a team meeting to discuss game strategy and talked about being appreciative of the opportunity to play some of the top Hamburg boys soccer teams.
We went out for warm-ups around 9:15 and the three German teams were already warming up and looked very well organized and talented. The first team we played were Hamburger SV and we started out pretty slow and lost 5-0. The second team was our Family Day hosts Hamburger Fussball Verband. Josh met his German player Devin who is hosting him for Family Day this coming Saturday. Unfortunately, we lost again, this time 4-0. The third team, FC St. Pauli is considered one of the top teams in Hamburg. This team is affiliated with the FC St. Pauli professional team that Bryson and Albert blogged about yesterday. This game was our third loss of the morning, 8-0.
All four teams had lunch together in the hotel, we had choices of multiple types of pasta with white sauce, red sauce, baked lasagna, and grated parmesan cheese. Josh had pasta noodles and parmesan cheese and Zach had lasagna. We both sat with German players from other teams but didn’t speak to them too much, we were all very nervous.
The second round of games started after lunch and we played much better than in our morning games. Our fourth game was against Hamburger SV and Tyler assisted on Christopher’s goal to give us 1-1 tie right before time expired. The fifth game was against Hamburger Fussball Verband and lost 3-0, a one goal improvement from our first game against them. Our last game was versus FC St. Pauli and lost 3-0, a 5 goal improvement from our previous game against them. Charlie made great goalkeeper saves in all three of our afternoon games. Coach Razvan and Coach Thomas were pleased with our afternoon games and we felt good that we were more competitive with them this round.
For dinner we had deli meats, bread & rolls, hard boiled eggs, fresh cucumbers, pasta salad, and fish. After dinner we went out and played on the 3v3 field and at 8:30 we all sat in the TV room and watched the first half of the German Super Cup, Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund.
Everyone arrived at O’Hare by 1 o’clock; we were all very excited to go to Germany! We checked in at the ticket counter, we all got our tickets and said goodbye to our parents. Going thru security was surprisingly quick and easy. Once we got to our Lufthansa departure gate we found enough open seats for everyone. Coach Thomas allowed us to walk around the terminal in small groups and buy some snacks for the long 8hr plane ride to Frankfurt. The plane was HUGE!!! It was a 747 that has an upper level where first-class passenger’s seats were located. The ride was long but each seat had their own little TV screen with choices of music, TV shows, and a lot of movies to choose from. The combination of our excitement and candy overload many of us did not sleep on the plane ride to Frankfurt, which we paid the price for later that day.
We arrived at about 7:15am in Frankfurt and the landing was very smooth. The Frankfurt airport is not as big as O’Hare airport and all the signs were in German and English. After we got off the plane we had to wait in a line to get our passports stamped before going to the gate for our plane ride to Hamburg. While walking to the gate we saw a smoking room where with a lot of people sitting and standing while smoking. Very strange!!!
The plane ride to Hamburg was quick and most of us were getting pretty sleepy. We arrived in Hamburg and we waited forever for our luggage. Once everyone had their bags we met Christian from HVB and waited even longer for the bus. While waiting outside for the bus we noticed that all of the taxis were BMWs and Mercedes, not a surprise since those cars are made in Germany. The bus finally came and it was a really nice tour bus with plenty of room for everyone to sit and some even lay down to try and get in a quick sleep.
When we got to the HFV Das Hamburger Sport-Hotel our rooms weren’t quite ready so we ate lunch in the hotel cafeteria. Lunch was very good! We had choices of pasta with plain or meat sauces, salad, and deli meats with sandwich bread or rolls. After lunch Coach Thomas gave out our room assignments and what rooms we were in, and the points contest which he said we would lose points if our rooms were messy during room inspections. We unpacked clothes and rested for a little while before getting ready for the afternoon training session. It was lightly raining outside so we trained on a very nice turf field that is right outside our dorms. It didn’t rain too long during training and had a great competitive 6v6 three-team tournament which Coach Thomas and Razvan played with us.
It was a little early for dinner and the coaches didn’t want us to stay in our rooms and fall asleep so we went for a little walk around the neighborhood. On the way back from our walk we stopped at Aldi (aka “the shop”) to get some snacks and some German candy.
Dinner was deli sandwiches, potato salad, pasta salad, and fresh vegetables. After dinner Coach Thomas told us we needed to stay up till 8 o’clock so we would sleep the entire night. We went into another room near the cafeteria and some of us played cards and others were starting to fall asleep at the tables. Coach Thomas told us to get some fresh air so we went outside and watched some German kids play a pick-up soccer game on the turf field. We were cheering for a team that had a great player named Jeffrey. He scored a couple of goals and ran along the sideline and gave us high-fives.
8 o’clock came and we all went upstairs to our rooms and it never felt so good to go to bed.
Day 2 – Bryson and Albert
It was nice to get a good night’s sleep. This morning Coach Thomas woke up each room at 7:30 and had to be downstairs for breakfast at 8 o’clock. After breakfast Coach Thomas gave us the results of surprise room inspections that he did while we were eating. Out of 5 rooms, only one room received 1 point each for a good room inspection, the other 4 rooms failed with one room according to Coach Thomas “looked like a clothes bomb went off”. Our morning training session was on the turf field at 9:30, which included various drills and ended with more 6v6 three team tournament games. After training we showered and came down to eat lunch. Lunch was boneless chicken breasts, bread, and fresh fruit.
Our HFV hosts Chris, Christian, Jens, and Carsten met us at 1:30 for our bus trip to the FC St. Pauli vs. Eintracht Braunschweig, it was the first St. Pauli home for the fall season. St. Pauli stadium was filled with a lot of energy; the fans were loud and exciting. Since it was the first home game there were white and brown flags in the stands that fans waved during the player introductions. Our seats were awesome, just above the player tunnel giving us a close up view of the players coming onto and leaving the field. The St. Pauli fans and the small section of guest team Eintracht Braunschweig fans each sang songs and chanted for their teams the entire game. Unfortunately, St. Pauli lost 2-0 but to experience a Bundesliga game in Germany and the first home game of the season for FC St. Pauli was fantastic. Our trip back to HVB was another first for all of us; we took a public transit train and a public bus.
Dinner was chicken, deli meats, bread and rolls, pasta salad, potato salad, and hard-boiled eggs. We had a late evening training session of an 8v8 half field scrimmage until 9pm to prepare us for our 3-team tournament tomorrow morning. Lights out at 10!
The Schwaben-Hamburg International Exchange Program was created to give American and German soccer players the experience of playing soccer in another country and culture, strengthen ties with Chicago's sister city, team building, make long lasting friendships within Schwaben and with the Hamburg Fussball Verband.
Players in the program represent Schwaben abroad and enjoy a diverse program of soccer and cultural events such as visiting the American Consulate and Hamburg City Hall, spending a day with a player's German family, experiencing staying in a soccer dorm, international practices and friendly games and tournaments.
This is a truly unique experience for the players, coaches and families involved.
From October 18th - 28th, Schwaben hosted a girls and boys team from Hamburg Fussball Verband. In the fourth year of the program, Schwaben has a great itinerary of soccer and cultural events planned including a visit to the German Consulate, Stevenson High School, Willis Tower and international friendly games.
The games were open to the public and held at the Schwaben fields, 301 N. Weiland Rd, Buffalo Grove, IL. The concession was open to grab a beer and brat and enjoy some soccer.
The #HFV Boys beat Chicago Fire DA 2:0 in a friendly. It was a great game with a fantastic atmosphere!
HFV Girls and Boys up early for their first practice at Schwaben. In the evening HFV - Schwaben had a combined practice followed by a delicious dinner prepared by chef Adam. So much fun!
Congratulations to Rei for winning the MVP for the week. The players had an opportunity to earn points throughout the week. Rei earned the most points for helping to clean up, having a clean room for the inspections, being a team player, winning the indoor competition and in the words of everyone, "nice!"
Anthony is 2nd place and Ryan in third. Congrats, guys!
The HFV was generous in giving the kids books, lanyards, bracelets and a CD, vielen Dank!
To start our day off we had breakfast. According to Quinlan she had, "the best cinnamon rolls ever for breakfast!”
After that we piled in the bus and drove to the St. Pauli fan gift shop. We each got a coupon for $5 off. Then we had lunch on the bus and headed over to the city hall. After waiting we got to go on the tour of city hall. We saw amazing sculptures and paintings. We saw where the government discussion went on. It was a really cool place.
Jillian: “It was kinda of amazing how the city hall didn’t get damaged during the world wars.”
After the town hall tour we went shopping. First we went to the HSV fan shop (top team in Hamburg). The stuff in the shop had a lot of different colors. Most people bought jerseys. When everyone was done buying souvenirs we were headed to the Adidas store. There were a lot of cool patterns and colors there. They sold out of the four star Germany jerseys!
Next place we went was McDonald’s and a bakery. Most people went to McDonald’s but Q and Jill went to the bakery. When everyone was done eating we went to go meet up at the town hall to go to the surprise. The surprise was go –carting! It was so much fun! I like going fast and drifting. We bumped into the wall a bunch of times. After the kids went the coaches went and they were soooo fast! And it was very loud and we saw them vibrating. First place was decided by the fastest lap.
Alyssa: “While I was go karting I started to have thoughts of soccer go through my head and I thought about practice and games.
After we had dinner and it was raining so we couldn’t play soccer but today was really fun!
Hunter: “I liked watching how the Germans played and how they were different from the kids back in the US. They were technical and passed one-two touch.”
Jacob: “All the games today were extremely well matched so that made it exciting. It was fun participating in a tournament because it was fun to play with different styles of play.”
Kai: “The German food was unique and exotic yet tasted very good. They had a chicken burger with this curry ketchup and crepes with melted kinder bars.”
David: “I enjoyed the enthusiasm the German soccer players brought to the field. They did an amazing job of working together to achieve their of goal of winning the game."
Today we had a marvelous time playing in the large tournament that was held right next to our dorms. Everyone helped out in setting up the fields and the exciting games for the younger players. Soccer players from all around Hamburg participate in the tournament and joined the Schwaben soccer team on a gorgeous day. Our team started off on a chilly morning covered in sweatshirts and pants while getting prepared for the first game. As the ref blew the whistle that started off the first game we pressured quickly but got off to a rough start. We controlled a lot of the possession but we didn’t play as a team so we ended up tying them 0-0.
As the day progressed we played with more vigor and intensity but also with control. The second game was much better after the talk we had. We still met at a draw with the final score being 1-1. Even while considering the scoring we progressed greatly since we played a much more challenging opponent.
Suddenly after the second game the third game just became more important. If we win, we advance to the semis. It was do or die. We all just froze up but we knew that if we were going down, we are going down as a team. When we warmed up for once we were silent without a peep.
The whistle came all too soon as we were on the field before we realized it. The ball moved around fast but the air was filled with a thick-heavy tension atmosphere. Then the tension snapped. Alem faked a player and suddenly their defense was in chaos with a quick one-two and a great meg-shot from Alem. We scored the first point.
Then the gears in Schwaben kicked in. With high tempo we played amazing with semi-finals in our heads but that thought fainted away two minutes later. A great punch from our goalie rolled the ball right to the opponent as he released a bullet past our goalie. The game changed into an intense match but despite our American spirit we failed to penetrate their goal again. Our dreams for the tournament were in pieces as we slugged off the field with a defeated look.
While the boys were playing in the tournament the girls were playing in a 3v3 tournament with the German girls. The teams were: Blue 1 with Shayna, Kirsten, Shelby and Kayla. White team with Weedy, Jillian, Tierney, Rachel and Sami. Blue 2 with Bende, Quinlan, Agata and Sophie. Yellow team were the German girls. In the finals the blue team (Blue 1) won a close victory over the yellow team to the score of 3-2. This day was an overall eventful one and everyone played a lot of soccer!
Shayna (Larissa): “I liked how we biked through the park and played 3v3. We got to include soccer in our family day”
Sophie (Larissa): “My favorite part was being able to meet with more than one of the German girls since we already became friends with them.
Today in Germany was family day. We started off the day by eating breakfast and then shortly after that we got picked up to start our journey. When we first got to Larissa’s house we took a small tour and met her two brothers, Nino and Noel. We were welcomed graciously. Although they didn’t speak much English we used Google translate to communicate. Then we decided to play Just Dance 4 on their Wii. Next when we got bored of dancing we took a bike ride and met Chantel and Ray Ray and played a little 3v3 at the park nearby. We all agreed it was time to go back to their houses. We biked back and were welcomed back with cookies, apple juice and butter cake (which is a lot like a glazed donut). We chatted for a while and got into the car to go walk around the HSV stadium. It was amazing how big it was! Since no one was actually playing in the stadium we couldn’t go in, but we went into the gift shop and looked at all the cool HSV gear.
Finally, we drove about 5 – 7 minutes to Rabatzz, which was a HUGE indoor playground. Who would have thought two and a half hours would tire you out so much? Most of us were so hungry we decided to drive back to Larissa’s house and get some dinner.
For dinner we had spaghetti and meat sauce and some veggies. Also for dessert we had popsicles. Afterwards, we went upstairs and had a mini dance party with a lot of giggling. Sadly it was time to go. But I can’t wait to see Larissa and her family tomorrow at the tournament.
Agata (Nina): “ Favorite part was seeing where Nina’s family lives. She lives in a house similar to the US houses.”
Today we went to our Germen partner’s house. After we ate breakfast their family picked me up. I was with Nina. First we stopped at a bakery to get some rolls on our way to Nina’s house. When I got to Nina’s house the first thing we did was look at Nina’s hamster, Mia. After that we went to play outside. There were three tire swings that we went on. While on the swings Nina took pictures of us. We had a mini photo shoot!
Unfortunately it started raining and we had to run inside. We drove into town to take more pictures in a photo booth. But it was closed! After that we went back up to Nina’s room and made bracelets, played catch and played with the hamster again! Next we discussed what we wanted for dinner. We decided on a barbeque! While Nina’s dad was making dinner we went to print the pictures. We laughed in front of the whole store because the photos were so funny. We each got the photos we liked and drove back home. Of course the table was dressed and ready for dinner. We had delicious sausage, potatoes, chicken and garlic bread.
We laughed, talked and ate ice cream. After dinner we went up to Nina’s room and looked at our pictures one more time. Unfortunately we got called down because it was time to go. I had a great time with Nina and her family!
Sami (Jill): “I liked seeing the bunnies and downtown Hamburg. It was interesting because I thought that Europe wasn’t like America but the shopping mall was really similar.”
I woke up at 7:30am got ready and then I got into the car with Jill. We got to go watch the Germans train at the stadium. Next we got to their house and played FIFA 14 a Wii game. Then we went shopping and got ice cream! It was really good. We ate lunch then went to Jill’s cousins house they had a super nice apartment! We went outside and fed the three bunnies! Then went inside to eat cake. I didn’t like the cake but luckily we got coca-cola and I love Coke! Then we went upstairs and played more FIFA 14. I was Chicago Fire and Jill was Brazil and Brazil won.
Then we went outside again to see the bunnies. We got to hold them, pet them and feed them. It was awesome! Next we went inside to the basement to get Monopoly and I won! Next they made me a sandwich and said goodbye!
Today in Germany in the morning we did a joint practice with German players. The difference is the German coaches instructed practice (vs. only the Schwaben coaches) while they did this we got to know their knowledge and how they coach their players. Also while we practiced we got to talk to them and make good friends with them.
In the middle of the day we started off with lunch. At lunch we got to sit with the German kids and learn what they like to do for fun and we got to learn their culture. Everyone is making a lot of German friends. But then the boys had a rematch against them. We came off a 3-1 loss yesterday in an unlucky game it should have ended in 2-2. Today’s result was an embarrassing loss. Everyone was so mad because we thought we could get revenge. The game wasn’t the best game we could have played but overall it was very fun game because we got to know the kids before we played and that made a huge difference. It mad the loss not feel so bad.
At the end of the day we had a big BBQ with our friendly rivals. We made even more friends an it was a lot fun. Also before the day ended we went upstairs and played some fussball with the German kids and we had a great time!
Overall it was a great day!
Ryan: “Even after a long competitive game with the German kids it didn’t matter who won it was just a great experience.”
Vinny: “We may have lost but we got better and made some friends.”
We started our morning by doing our regular routine. We brushed our teeth, combed our hair and ate breakfast. As we were getting ready exciting thoughts were going through our head about the game. Next we headed out to practice with the Hamburg girls. We all started out timid because we didn’t know them that well. Then we got to know them better and practiced better. Some of the girls seemed really scary and tough but as we got to know them they were really nice. Mixed emotions were going through our head like scared, timid and nervous. Then our tummies were rumbling and grumbling for lunch.
For lunch we were mixed with the Hamburg girls. We started up conversation to get to know each other better. Then we got dressed for the big game. When we got down there we found out that we got our own locker room. As the game started the Hamburg girls were skillful and aggressive. By the end of the game, even though we played well, we were defeated by the Hamburg girls.
After our soccer game we relaxed on the sidelines to watch the boys game. The boys played very well but were defeated.
After the games we freshened up and went down to the dinner. The pasta at the dinner delicious, everyone LOVED it! We are having a Fussball tournament after dinner, which seems really fun!
In the end of our day we had an amazing day. :)
Tierney: “The pasta was the best!”
Alyssa W.: “It was fun trying to talk to the Germany girls because no one could understand each other.”
Rachel: “The Hamburg girls were hard to beat because they had such amazing soccer skills. It made me feel inspired.”
Aside from the uneventful ritual of washing up, the whole group went to the downtown of Hamburg, Germany. The trip from the HFV Sportshule to the city was about half an hour. On our way we ventured to the part of the city, which was the most impressive but was unknown to us. Our first destination was the American Consulate, which was practically a small U.S. embassy with the purpose to strengthen ties between Germany and the United States.
“I thought the consulate was very gorgeous and I liked the paintings and the artistic aspects of it,” stated Rei.
“I enjoyed finding out every historical detail of the building,” said Anthony.
Afterwards we were motivated by our hunger to hunt for food or put it bluntly, to find a restaurant. We entered a fantastic restaurant by the name of Alitalia. As a whole group we ate a variety of pizza to which most of us gorged ourselves. We left the restaurant happy and full.
After the food we drove to the St. Pauli stadium. It is the official soccer stadium of the Hamburg 2nd Division Bundesliga. We toured the entire stadium like the soccer fields to the VIP boxes and the seats to the changing rooms.
“I liked looking at a German stadium because of how it was different from the American stadiums,” said Chris.
“I liked the structural architecture of the stadium,” said Alem.
All of this was a once in a lifetime sight. Afterwards, we headed to dinner. All in all, this seemingly continuous boredom of getting ready in the morning turned into a chaotic and amazing trip!
We woke up and went down to breakfast at 7:50 there were Kaiser rolls with Nutella, ham or cheese as well as cereal. It was really good. We got dressed for soccer and played Uno while we waited to start practice. We met the German girls in the locker room they were very shy and some spoke a bit of English.
Kirsten: “The German girls were very very good and skillful.”
We played 4v2 name games to get to know each other’s names. Then we got in teams and scrimmaged. After playing we said goodbye to the girls and showered before lunch. For lunch we had salad, yogurt, wedge potatoes fries, chicken, soup and meat sauce.
Shelby: “ Practice was cool seeing the different countries playing together.”
In the afternoon we went to the Hamburg Harbor and went on a boat and saw lots of old, big ships. We even saw a ship that could hold 60,000 tons and a crane that could lift 100,000 tons. Then we went to a museum with different countries that had landscapes, airports, cities and arenas (Miniatur Wonderland). After the museum we shopped a bit then headed home to dinner.
Kayla: “The day was very busy. My favorite part of the day was the museum and seeing the Austria Mountains and Arena, they were so realistic.”
After dinner we changed for soccer and cleaned our room. After practice we will watch the second half of the Real Madrid vs. Sevilla game.
“Busy and exciting and we will definitely remember it forever!”