Etas Insights: Birthday dinner with Klopp – and a "Vacation" in Austria

Since the end of February, Marie-Louise Eta (31) has been the only woman to complete the DFB’s pro license training course. In kicker she gives detailed insights – about an exciting training session in Freiburg and a birthday meeting with Jürgen Klopp.

The training is picking up speed: Marie-Louise Eta, here in June with the German U-15 juniors.

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By Marie-Louise Eta

The last few weeks and months have been incredibly intense and above all – once again – extremely instructive. I am very grateful that I can do this work every day, although it doesn’t feel like work and I don’t even want to call it that. Combining my own passion with my job is the best combination there can be for me.

At the International Trainers’ Congress in May, I faced one of my greatest challenges as a trainer. I was allowed to conduct a practical demonstration with the SC Freiburg U-17 juniors in Freiburg’s Europapark stadium in front of several hundred top coaches. I am very grateful that our training manager Daniel Niedzkowski asked me and gave me this opportunity and trust. Some of the national coaches from the DFB sat in the audience, including Miroslav Klose, Friedhelm Funkel, Norbert Elgert, Florian Bruns and many other well-known coaches.

Getting the opportunity to present my ideas there also made me a little proud. There was a lot of excitement beforehand, but when it started it was really fun – as always when you’re on the pitch with a team and want to improve specific areas of focus together. The support of the U17 coaching team around head coach Bernhard Weis and his assistant coach Christian Bahlinger helped me a lot beforehand and on the pitch. It was a big challenge to carry out the unit with the boys in such a short time and at the same time to take the spectators into my thoughts and considerations – that wasn’t everyday.

Training with TV presenter Leopold

After the meeting in Freiburg at the beginning of April, we participants in the pro license course continued in Wiesensee, i.e. in the Westerwald, at the end of the month. The date is already a certain ritual in the apprenticeship because the communication and media training has been taking place there for many years. Above all, our sports psychologists Werner Mickler and Babett Lobinger planned and implemented the content and trained us with other experts such as TV presenter Michael Leopold.

Among other things, we received interview training, completed some role-playing games, carried out team-building measures for verbal and non-verbal communication and received a lot of help in conducting discussions with, for example, the team council, coaching team and new players. Those were extremely exciting and sometimes very funny days – whether during the role-playing games, the team-building measures or even sitting together in the evening, there was a lot of laughter.

The training sessions are recorded and uploaded

Two weeks later, the next presence phase in Berlin followed, we were allowed to be guests at Hertha BSC. It was very special to be able to move around the facility directly in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium and to exchange ideas with some of the club’s managers. The Bundesliga team played relegation games at the same time, so of course we couldn’t meet anyone from the professional team, but we were allowed to work on the pitch with the U17s and U19s to implement the “Switchover” course topic.

We implemented the insights and impulses from this directly in the practical phase at our home clubs. We record these units with cameras and upload them to the so-called online campus. There we first reflect on ourselves, then we give each other feedback before the trainers comment on the units. I was allowed to design a part of the training with the north regional league club TSV Havelse on the focus on switching to offensive and carry it out together with the coaching team Philipp Gasde and Björn Bremermann.

Insights into Wolfsburg – and a meeting with Klopp

Next stop for us was Wolfsburg. The main topic in the phase was position-specific training. In the morning of the first day of attendance, we usually go out on the field with the group and conduct training. In addition to the very practical exchange of content, there are usually always exciting duels with each other, in which the ambition, but also the fun, is not neglected. Because of the summer break, we were on the pitch with a mixed Wolfsburg team made up of U17s and U19s as well as a top division team from the area. The expert talks are always among the highlights of the face-to-face phases. We had a very open and interesting conversation with VfL sporting director Marcel Schäfer in the AOK stadium and were able to watch Niko Kovac and his team’s first training session on the last day.

Marie-Louise Eta

  • As a player, Marie-Louise Eta was champion three times with Turbine Potsdam and won the 2010 Champions League. Born in Dresden, she won the European Championship with Germany’s U17s and the World Cup with the U20s. Since retiring at the age of 26, she has been working as a trainer – and is currently working on her pro license with the DFB. At the same time, she is an assistant for the German U-17 juniors. Her husband Benjamin Eta is also a coach.

The absolute highlight of the summer was a joint trip to England. On the first day we were guests at Liverpool FC’s training ground and had the opportunity to meet Jürgen Klopp, among others. Overall, there is an incredibly pleasant and family atmosphere on the entire site. I had the feeling that everyone was happy about our presence. We were allowed to see the pros’ first training session and exchange ideas with Klopp and his assistant coaches Pep Lijnders and Peter Krawietz. They spent a lot of time with us and I was lucky enough to sit down at lunch with Klopp and talk to him on my birthday.

Just as you perceive him in public, he was such an impressive and authentic personality up close. A few days later we were able to see the U-23 training session, then talk to the coaching staff and we were in the academy, where manager Alex Inglethorpe presented their training concept to us. Getting this detailed insight into this great club steeped in tradition was like being in a dream. At the end of the individual days, we often looked at each other and asked ourselves whether we had really just experienced it. I won’t soon forget the time there.

Live soccer at the Women’s European Championship – and a “holiday” in Austria

We were also able to watch the women’s European Championship live during the trip. We watched the opening match between England and Austria in Manchester at Old Trafford and also the great start of the German women’s national team against Denmark. We also talked to experts from the English Football Association before the game in Manchester and heard an exciting lecture by Damian Hughes on the subject of “Creating Culture”.

Eta on her journey as a player and coach:

When so many people poured into the stadium in front of Old Trafford, it was completely crazy to see. Two great games. The atmosphere in the stadium was impressive and I was also very happy to meet some of my former team-mates again.

After our visit to England, we were together for the first time at the DFB Academy in Frankfurt and worked on the thematic block of the analysis. The conditions on site are great and I was able to work out and implement two training sessions with Danny Röhl, Marc Hensel and Robert Lechleiter during the days with the Eintracht Frankfurt U-19 juniors. After consultation with the Eintracht coaching team, our focus was the switching game.

In mid-July I had another week of “holiday”. I used that together with my husband Benjamin, who coached the current regional league club Bremer SV until the summer, for an internship. We were in Austria and stopped by the training camps of Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen and got very interesting insights. And in between there was some time to switch off.

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