Verena Schweers doesn’t exactly have a storybook career to currently reflect on. However, after overcoming several injuries, the 30 year-old is back to full fitness and is taking on an important role during the current Women’s World Cup in France. Schweers is well respected by her teammates for her openness and laid-back attitude. DFB.de provides a further insight into the FC Bayern München defender.
At just eleven years of age, Verena Schweers began her football career with SC Kappel, located near Freiburg im Breisgau and the French border. She went to training with some her friends from school, but her parents weren’t initially keen on the idea of her becoming a footballer. However, things went uphill very quickly, as the men’s head coach at Kappel had previously been in charge of SC Freiburg’s women’s team, and contact was then made to the Frauen Bundesliga club. In 2006, Schweers joined Freiburg’s youth setup, before making the jump up to the first team just two years later. Since then, Schweers has played for VfL Wolfsburg and most recently FC Bayern München. The defender was part of a Wolves side which won the treble (Bundesliga, Women’s DFB-Pokal and Women’s Champions League).
Despite this fast progression into senior club football, Verena Schweers took a while to break into the DFB-Frauen team. Maren Meinert gave Schweers her first international call-up to the U19s squad for the European Championship in France, ahead of Schweers’ first major tournament, the U20 Chile World Cup in 2008, which she describes as her “biggest achievement.” The side went on to finish third. Her senior debut came under head coach Silvia Neid in 2010, before she was part of the Germany squad at a home Women’s World Cup in 2011. Although she didn’t feature in this tournament, the now 30 year-old said she had “the foundations upon which to work upon.”
After that, Schweers had a quiet spell. Illness and injury sidelined her development as a player. She didn't just miss two European Championships, but also the 2015 Canada World Cup. "I've had to fight a lot to now stand where I am today," says the 30-year-old, looking back. She's more pleased that she now has the chance to play in a big tournament, under completely different circumstances than those back in 2011.
At the age of 30, Schweers is one of the oldest players in the squad, yet she doesn't feel 30 in a squad full of young teammates. "I like speaking with the younger players because they're still very carefree, cheeky and they don't about stuff as much. I often see myself in them." Schweers also doesn't mind the odd joke off the pitch. "I'm down for a joke with anyone and can always laugh at myself. My teammates appreciate that."
Despite her relaxed nature, the defender takes her role as an experienced player very seriously, and has an influence on her younger teammates. She leads the way where necessary and doesn't forget to offer an open ear, especially to the younger an inexperienced players. "I think it's important to discuss uncomfortable topics before you bury them deep down," says the national team player. For Schweers, an honest and direct approach is important in order to deal with problems straight away.
The support that the 30-year-old gives her teammates is also felt at home from her family and her husband. She phones them a lot, and her parents and her husband were in Grenoble to watch the DFB-Frauen's last game against Nigeria. Their encouragement and dedication are a "pure joy and big source of support" for Schweers. After all her setbacks, the 30-year-old is not only back for her club, but for the Germany National Team as well.