Sara Däbritz’s passion for football began early on, and the 25-year-old has since become an important figure within the Germany women’s team. In an interview with DFB.de, she speaks about the early days of playing football with the boys, her connection to her hometown and how she’s recovered from a serious injury last year.
DFB.de: You started playing football at just five years old – how did that come about?
Sara Däbritz: I grew up on a quiet street, and the other kids and I would play football there. One of my friends took me to training with them and I’ve been playing ever since.
DFB.de: Your first club was SpVgg Ebermannsdorf. What memories do you have of your hometown club?
Däbritz: I have many good memories from back then. At the start, it was very exciting. I played with the boys and just one other girl in the team, and we all went to the same school. As a kid, you came home from school, quickly did your homework and then headed off to football. I spent all my free time playing football with my friends.
DFB.de: You then left Ebermannsdorf to join JFG Vilstal and SpVgg Weiden. Did you always play with the boys during this time?
Däbritz: Yes, and I loved playing on a team with boys. I was welcomed at every club, they accepted me and I always felt at home. Playing against boys definitely helped develop my athleticism, my reaction time and my aggressiveness.
DFB.de: You then made a big move to SC Freiburg in 2012. What was it like for you to be so far away from home?
Däbritz: It was a big step for me, but it also wasn’t easy because I love my hometown very much. It was always my dream to play professionally and to play in the Bundesliga. That’s why it was the right move for me to join SC Freiburg at that age, they’re a club who places a lot of importance on young players and their development. I knew that I would see plenty of playing time, which was important for me. I was also able to have the right balance of school and football.
DFB.de: You made your senior Germany debut a year later. What emotions did you feel in that moment?
Däbritz: Those are moments that you work to achieve as a young player. Being on the verge of your first cap for your country means that you’re fulfilling a life-long dream, and you’re just trying to soak it all in, remember it and enjoy the moment.
DFB.de: There are definitely plenty of other players out there who want to follow in your footsteps. Has it been smooth sailing for you in terms of your career, or have there been setbacks along the way?
Däbritz: I’d say that I’ve experienced more highs than lows during my career. Of course there have been setbacks, like the ACL injury I suffered last year. I missed nearly seven months and underwent an operation on my knee, which definitely throws you off track. However, I’m someone who knows how to remain positive and can focus on what’s next. After the operation I had a new challenge and a new goal, to come back stronger than before. Looking back on it, my time rehabilitating was a positive time, because I was able to grow as a person. Now, I feel a lot better than I did before.
DFB.de: You’re now playing for Paris Saint-Germain. Do you still have anything connecting you to Ebermannsdorf?
Däbritz: When I have time off, then I like to travel back home and spend time with my friends and family. I rarely visit the ground then. Every now and then I’ll be in touch with some of the guys from back then.
DFB.de: In your opinion, have things changed in the way that amateur football is run?
Däbritz: I think so. When I played for Bayern München, I’d often go and watch SV Pullach play because I had friends on the team. Now, you’re able to watch amateur games on various apps, if you’re not able to be there in person. I’ve done that several times.