In an inspiring move to nurture the next generation of football talent, key players from the Cologne Centurions have taken a proactive role in shaping the future of American Football in Germany. This shift is marked by their dedication to coaching roles within the U19 Cologne Falcons, indicating a departure from the conventional focus solely on personal careers. This article delves into the notable players leading this initiative, their achievements, and the potential impact on the growth of football in Germany.
Leaders of the Movement:
A pivotal figure at the forefront of this transformation is Fabian Kratz, who has ascended to the position of Head Coach for the U19 Cologne Falcons. Kratz’s journey from player to coach is adorned with milestones, including his time with the Cologne Falcons, Naperville Central High School Redhawks, and the Cologne Centurions. With accomplishments like the High School Conference Champion title and a spot on the ELF All-Star Team, Kratz brings a wealth of experience to his role.
Dean Tanwani, now the Running Back Coach, is a prime example of this paradigm shift. Hailing from Bonn Gamecocks, Cologne Crocodiles, and the Cologne Centurions, Tanwani’s transition from player to coach embodies dedication to continuous growth.
„Dean and I have a long history together. I have come to know and appreciate him as a hard worker. He is a student of the game and always willing to learn and implement new things. So I see him as a valuable addition to our future plans.“(Fabian Kratz)
The Power of Guidance:
Tom Kleinmann, an embodiment of excellence in the Defensive Back position, assumes the mantle of DB Coach. Kratz’s quote underscores Kleinmann’s prowess, both theoretical and practical, establishing him as one of Europe’s most talented Defensive Backs.
„For me, Tom is one of the most talented defensive backs in Europe. His theoretical as well as practical knowledge is remarkable. I am delighted to welcome him to our team. His expertise and experience will undoubtedly make a valuable contribution to the development of our players and establishment of our program.“(Fabian Kratz)
Paul Kavadia-Lenhardt’s journey from Cologne Crocodiles to the Centurions lands him the role of WR Coach and Passing Game Coordinator. Kratz’s quote pays homage to Kavadia-Lenhardt’s relentless work ethic, passion, and discipline.
„Paul is the epitome of a hard worker. His passion and discipline is remarkable. I am very pleased to say that he is now part of our crew. His knowledge and experience are an invaluable asset to the team. Paul will, in establishing our program, take on a huge role!“(Fabian Kratz)
Marius Faust’s appointment as OL Coach stands as a testament to his dedication to the sport. His history with Leverkusen Tornados, Cologne Crocodiles, and Cologne Centurions mirrors Kratz’s own journey, fostering a strong partnership.
„I have known Marius for several years and have played with him on the offensive line and coached a unit together. He is an incredible asset and I am very happy that he decided to continue. He puts a lot of emphasis on technique and physicality. So he fits right in with our plans going forward.“(Fabian Kratz)
Daniel Schuhmacher’s entry as the Special Teams Coach not only adds a distinctive dimension but also brings a wealth of expertise that promises to reshape the Falcons‘ special teams strategy. With a highly specialized skill set, including a coveted invitation to the NFL Pro Day and the prestigious Best GFL Kicker Award, Schuhmacher is poised to make an indelible mark. Remarkable is his Guinness World Record for achieving the longest blindfolded field goal, a staggering 50-yard distance that speaks volumes about his unparalleled precision and control. Beyond the records, Schuhmacher’s dedication to his craft shines through his motto, ‚just a kicker,‘ which, though humble, barely conceals his profound love for the art of kicking. Eager to share the insights he’s garnered over the past decade, Schuhmacher is enthusiastic about passing on his knowledge gained from various sources, including immersive experiences at US camps, enlightening video sessions, and countless rigorous training sessions.
„I am very happy that Daniel has decided to join the coaching world. He is not only a person of impeccable character, but also a Specialist Coach who will help us in many ways and make us better. It is important for us to be competitive, physical and technically correct in all phases of the game. I know Daniel can and will give us an important advantage in Special Teams.“(Fabian Kratz)
Nurturing Future Talent:
Sven Appelt’s inclusion as LB Coach further solidifies the Falcons‘ coaching ranks. With his background in Düren Demons, Cologne Crocodiles, and the Centurions, Appelt brings a dynamic personality to his role.
„With Sven, we welcome another very welcome addition to our ranks. I am very happy to see how our staff is slowly taking shape. Sven brings that certain personality that you should have as a LB coach. His commitment and confidence make him the right fit for a very, very talented LB squad that is sure to make big waves in 2024.“(Fabian Kratz)
The overarching narrative here is clear: players from the Centurions aren’t merely focusing on their careers but are actively seeking to mold the next generation of football talents in Germany, particularly in Cologne. This dedication is a significant rebuttal to criticisms suggesting the ELF merely poaches players from national leagues without contributing to grassroots development.
This proactive engagement from the Centurions‘ players showcases an unwavering commitment not just to their personal success, but to elevating the entire ecosystem of American football in Europe, starting with Germany. The ripple effects of their involvement promise a brighter future for the U19 Cologne Falcons and, more broadly, for the trajectory of football in Germany.
If you are interested in joining the Cologne Falcons U19, the practice takes place every Tuesday and Thursday (17:30-20:00) at the Ostkampfbahn in Cologne. Get in touch with them on Instagram at CologneFalconsU19.