Four days in the heart of the Silicon Valley: From Facebook HQ and Stanford University to the San José Sharks and the San Francisco 49ers, the DFB and its academy brought together a group of 14 directors from the Bundesliga to join them in taking a glance into the future. The purpose of the DFB Academy’s first ever Leadership Tour, set to continue until Thursday, is to gain new insights from US sport and US businesses and discuss how they can benefit German football. The journey includes several encounters with digitalisation, technologies, trends, structures and analytical solutions, with plenty of opportunities for the colleagues to talk about current topics in German football. DFB.de have collated some quotes from the Leadership Tour.
Fredi Bobic, Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director: "For those of us in leadership positions, it’s important to expand our horizons, even within the confines of our daily work, to learn from other sports and institutions, such as Stanford University and their executives, and to share our own knowledge with them. This trip is therefore a chance for us to gain insights and benefit ourselves and German football, even with regard to the current season."
Jonas Boldt, Hamburger SV sporting director: "I welcomed the idea of this tour straight away, because I’ve always been interested in other sports and generally interested in business structures. I think it’s an exciting opportunity to learn from successful business models in order to help development in and around the world of football. The way I see it, this is an essential part of a modern perspective. I am looking forward to getting to know more structures and procedures first hand in classic US sport organisations. I hope our experiences at the various innovative businesses in the Silicon Valley will provide new impetus. Naturally, I am also looking forward to exchanging ideas with my colleagues from the Bundesliga and the DFB executives."
Max Eberl, Borussia Mönchengladbach sporting director: "I am looking forward to being able to gain new exciting insights in the USA with a larger group of fellow directors from the Bundesliga. There will certainly be new impetus from this DFB Academy initiative, and it will definitely be interesting to experience everything first-hand with my colleagues and discuss topics as they arise."
Marcell Jansen, Hamburger SV president: "This DFB tour is a great opportunity to gain new insights and inspiration. Despite the timing, I think the number of people who have joined speaks for itself and shows that the Bundesliga is open to new ideas."
Markus Krösche, RB Leipzig sporting director: "I’m looking forward to the leadership tour in the USA, because expanding my horizons is fundamentally very important to me. I am sure that there will be plenty of ideas exchanged and insights gained along the way. It’s always exciting to see how clubs and businesses work in other countries. I’m obviously hoping for a lot of inspiration for my role at RB Leipzig."
Simon Rolfes, Bayer 04 Leverkusen sporting director: "I welcome the DFB initiative. In order to shape the future of German football as best we can, it is absolutely essential for all of us to expand our horizons. I am very-much looking forward to some interesting insights and obviously to the exchange of ideas with my colleagues from other Bundesliga clubs."
Jochen Saier, SC Freiburg sporting director: "It’s all about breaking out of your routine and broadening your horizons. It’s definitely exciting to get this fresh input from other sports and their organisations. The time spent together and the chance to chat with our colleagues from the Bundesliga will also certainly benefit our work in the long run."
Hasan Salihamidzic, FC Bayern sporting director: "I like Oliver Bierhoff’s vision of Bundesliga and DFB management occupying themselves with the development of football together. Digital technology is everywhere in football nowadays. I am curious as to what we can learn from US sport. There have certainly been some excellent franchises from the NFL and NHL. The fact that we’re in the Silicon Valley to learn from this, speaks for itself. Team spirit always evolves on trips like this as well – I’m looking forward to the discussions with my colleagues."
Marcel Schäfer, VfL Wolfsburg sporting director: "I am really looking forward to the trip. Back when I was in the US with the Tampa Bay Rowdies I used to go to lots of different clubs where I was able to gain valuable experiences. I am therefore very grateful that the DFB has instigated this tour and given us the chance to learn even more from US sport and US businesses. This will broaden our spectrum and give us fresh impetus for our work in the Bundesliga."
Oliver Bierhoff, Germany national team and DFB academy director: "We’re going in new directions with this Leadership Tour. I am really looking forward to the trip with my counterparts from the Bundesliga. The fact that so many club directors have taken the time to come along on this tour in the middle of the season shows that we are right to offer such things through the DFB academy. The DFB academy acts as a networker and builds bridges in order to provide inspiration for the top clubs and their management personnel. It will be an interesting experience digitalisation, technology and innovation in the USA. In my management role we’ve been analysing such fields for a while now, looking at how they can be applied to our game and how they can give us competitive advantages. I’ve been impressed with the club’s interest and open-mindedness – it is yet another sign that the DFB, DFL and the clubs want to move German football forward together.
Tobias Haupt, DFB academy leader: "The intended purpose of our trip to the Silicon Valley is to look for new impetus from the most successful clubs in American sport, to learn from the strategies of these multinational tech companies and to open discussion with experts about topics and developments in ‘High Performance Leadership’ and ‘Digitalisation’. Among other things, we have been talking to Facebook, Stanford University, the San José Sharks and the San Francisco 49ers. Aside from broadening our horizons, it is important for us to talk to each other face to face about concrete solutions in German football.