Archive for the ‘Kaiserslautern’ Category

Where Are They Now? Tom Dooley

January 13, 2009

While many US fans are still crestfallen over Neven Subotic’s decision to play for Serbia, perhaps now is a good time to remember how we’ve benefited from similar decisions by players who chose to play for the Stars and Stripes. I can’t think of a better example than Tom Dooley

I must admit that Dooley is still one of my favorite players ever to pull on a US jersey. He, along with the wave of Tab Ramos, Eric Wynalda, John Harkes, and others carried the USA up the next level, setting the stage for much of what has followed.

His playing career included stints at FC FC Homburg (1983-1988), FC Kaiserslautern (1988-1993), Bayer Leverkusen (1994-1995), Schalke 04 (1995-1997), Columbus Crew (1997-2000), and the MetroStars (2001). He then went on to coach Second Bundesliga side Saarbrucken (2002-2003). At Kaiserslautern he led the team to the 1990 German Cup and 1991 Bundesliga title, In 1997, he won the UEFA Cup with Schalke 04.

Along the way the speedy defender earned 81 caps for the USA, scoring seven goals in the process. In 1993, he was named the US Soccer Athlete of the Year, and later he captained the US national team in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups .

But Dooley, the son of a German mother and an American serviceman, first longed to play for Germany. He had led the small club FC Homburg to win promotion to the Bundesliga, then moved to Kaiserslautern where he hoped to get noticed and called by the German national team – a call which never came.

“I was gutted,” Dooley recalls. “Three times I was on the verge of being called in, but each time I suffered serious injuries and the chance went begging. I despaired that I would never play international football, but my wife assured me, ‘there must be a reason for it.”

So Dooley dug in and focused on his club team, helping them to win the 1990 German Cup and 1991 Bundesliga championship.

Then, in 1993, US Soccer contacted Dooley when someone pointed out that he had an American father and may qualify for citizenship. Dooley remembered that “They came to ask more questions and eventually I was invited to join the US team. I had to run around like a mad man and get my passport in order and learn some basic English.”

But Dooley was happy to have found his own soccer family; “It was a great time and so much fun. We were together for a year, and it was amazing. We brought the game of soccer into the public consciousness in America.”

And anyone who watched how hard and focused Dooley played in the USA jersey would never guess that he was once a youngster who had longed to play for Germany.

One match that I’ll always remember was in June 1993 when the US played Germany at Chicago’s Soldier Field during the World Series of Soccer. Dooley played the game of his life, battling a powerful German attack while scoring two goals (in the 25th and 79th minutes). All the while, he seemed to have his teammates convinced they could beat the mighty German squad, which had won the World Cup just three years prior. The team lost 4-3 but not before Earnie Stewart scored a 72nd minute goal, and a few other US chances nearly tied the match.

That day Dooley finally achieved a boyhood dream of pulling on a German national team jersey, which he did after exchanging with another player after the match. But in the post-game interview on German TV, all he could do was gush about his US teammates and how proud he was to play for the Stars and Stripes. It was performances like these on and off the field that make it clear that of all the dual-citizen players the USA has brought into the side, none has had a greater impact than Dooley.

Today, Dooley lives in Laguna Niguel, California where he founded the Orange County Kings and Dooley Soccer University with the goal to “train young players like they do in Europe and prepare them for careers in the big leagues of the world.”

He is also involved with Match Analysis, a cutting-edge provider of video and statistical analysis tools, archiving services, and value-added content for professional soccer.

Pearce Gets New Coach At Rostock

November 24, 2008

Just a week after Heath Pearce’s Hansa Rostock was crushed 6-0 at Kaiserslutern, a new savior has appeared in manager Dieter Eilts. After picking up only two points in their last five matches, a savior seems to be just what they need.

This is good news for American defender Heath Pearce, whose team is mired in 14th place and instead of seeking promotion back to the Bundesliga, is in danger of relegation to the 3rd division.

Eilts, a former German international with 31 caps, had a storied career at Werder Bremen making 397 appearances and was best know for his grit and incredible work rate in midfield and defense. Until recently he was the coach of Germany’s U-21 squad before the federation let him go three weeks ago. Eilts has always had a reputation as a level-headed player and coach and he is expected to bring this approach to the troubled Hansa side.

Eilts makes his coaching debut for Hansa tonight in a nationally televised match against 1860 Munich (Gregg Berhalter’s club). Pearce, suspended for two matches after a hard foul in last week’s loss to Kaiserslautern, will watch from the stands.

Bundesliga: Pearce Suspended For Two Matches

November 18, 2008

Hansa Rostock’s American defender Heath Pearce has been suspended for two matches for a vicious 64th minute foul he committed against Sidney Sam during his team’s 6:0 debacle against 1FC Kaiserslautern on Monday night.

Rostock came into the season with big plans to climb back to the First Bundesliga but now they’ll be fighting to prevent relegation to the third division. The club fired coach Frank Pagelsdorf after a slow start and has not fared much better under caretaker Juri Schlünz. There was talk of Thomas Doll or Lothar Matthäus being hired but now it seems no one wants the job. Meanwhile, the Hansa board announced last week that they “have a clear profile of what type of coach we want.”

Let’s hope for Pearce’s sake that they don’t take too long in their profiling efforts, otherwise, they’ll have a hard time living up to the club’s current motto: “Unsinkable since 1965.”

Pearce will miss the match against Greg Berhalter’s 1860 Munich and the following week against FC Augusburg. His next chance to play in Second Bundesliga action will be December 8th against 1FC Nuernberg, the former team of Joe-Max Moore and Tony Sanneh.

During the same match, Kaiserslautern’s American keeper Luis Robles kept a clean sheet in a solid 90 minute performance.

Say It Ain’t So Stefan!

November 7, 2008


Imagine having a stadium named after one of your club and country’s greatest sporting heros, the man who led your team to winning its first World Cup? Now imagine decades later the club changing the stadium’s name of for “business reasons?” Well, that may be in store for 1FC Kaiserslautern’s Fritz Walter Stadion.

Long time Kaiserslautern great Fritz Walter survived World War II and captained Germany to winning the 1954 World Cup, its first of three. The stadium, one of Germany’s most scenic, was built in 1920 and was renamed in Walter’s honor on his 65th birthday in 1985.

American fans remember the stadium as not only the first US friendly ever hosted abroad (a 1-0 win over Poland in March 2006) but as the site of the USA’s incredible 1-1 draw with eventual champion Italy in the 2006 World Cup.

Now, 1FCK president Stefan Kuntz has told the Mannheimer Morgen that “for business reasons.” the club may need to sell the stadium name to make ends meet. The earliest this could happen, according to Kicker, is next season.

Its clear that the small market 1FCK, comparable to the Green Bay Packers NFL franchise, would not make this decision unless they had no other choice. Clubs like 1FCK, with four Bundesliga titles to its credit, are having a difficult time keeping up year-in year-out with bigger teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, let alone competing for European silverware. But with just about every Bundesliga stadium selling its name to a sponsor, a team can fall even further behind financially if they don’t.

Regardless of what the club eventually decides, Kuntz has assured Kaiserslautern fans “In any case, we’ll make sure it still honors the memory of Fritz Walter.”