The enthusiasm was there long before the first day of work. When Tobias Haupt of the DFB Academy heard about the opportunity, the project was of great interest to him. Develop football further? Use scientific discoveries? Build on existing knowledge and use it in the footballing world? That sounded exciting and “is an innovation in German football,” said Haupt. He watched as the main academy was developed. He read about pilot projects, studies, conferences and workshops.
He was interested in this just for professional reasons. He was looking at what others were doing, seeing where the development is going and realizing what will be necessary in the future. The overlaps into his work were striking. Until now, the 34 year old has led the “Digitalisation of Sport” department at the International Football Institute in Munich. The institution advises and researches the field of performance football, creating a link between science and sporting practice. Haupt has been a professor for sports management and social media marketing at the institute.
He worked in teaching there, working with Bundesliga clubs and with regional associations. Other sporting associations and top athletes benefited from Haupt’s work and knowledge. The business management graduate and sports manager have vbecome one of the leading German experts in sport digitalisation. The visions for a centre of excellence, around 300km away from Munich, became more and more feasible.
The DFB academy is already helping the footballing world with an international conference attended by 230 football analysts, pilot projects in training, performance diagnostics, psychology and medicine, alongside new ways for coaches, specialists and expects to share knowledge. Although construction works on the site of a former racecourse in Frankfurt-Niederrad still haven’t begun. Since January, it has been fully incorporated into the DFB’s structure under the management of Oliver Bierhoff and his plans for “national teams and academies. Our academies will act as providers and driving forces for German football,” said Bierhoff.
There are two main divisions involved, the first being “Development and Innovation” led by Markus Weise. New technologies and scientific knowledge are used to further develop football and it is a pioneering task which uses theory and practice together to create innovative ideas. The other division is “training, further education and training of coaches and specialists” which is led by Markus Nadler. The football teacher training course is the most well known training a coach can receive in order to become a UEFA A-Licence coach. A completely new A-Licence has been recently created for goalkeeping coaches.
The only thing missing in amongst this growth was a leader to oversee the project. The DFB hierarchy have taken the necessary time to pick someone and to formulate the profile. Additionally, after the national team’s disappointing performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the academy plays a key role in initiating the right changes needed for a successful future.
After a series of discussions with applicants and candidates, Haupt was chosen to be the ideal leader for the DFB academy. On 24th August, the DFB announced that Haupt was to become head of the academy, starting in the role on the 1st October. “We now have the foundations in place for further developing the DFB Academy now that we have someone in a central role to spearhead the project,” said Bierhoff. “Tobias Haupt will help us to take the DFB Academy into a new innovative direction with the expertise he possesses. His expertise in sports management and digitalisation, which has proven with his time as a professor and multiple international projects, fits our needs perfectly.”
Haupt starts his role with a lot of enthusiasm, constantly discussing things with his team and getting involved in the projects. The academy acts as a network to built knowledge and develop new approaches for German football. It is a great honour and great challenge to act as the head of the DFB Academy and to shape its development,” he says. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the details of the project in more depth. It is all about creating a home and centre of excellence for German football. We will be adopting new approaches to take the next step with our academy.”
Haupt, who will mainly work in the strategic and conceptual areas of the academy, already has some practice-orientated modules in mind for coaches and specialists to learn. Digitalisation will also become a key theme with the academy tam already working hard to build up knowledge of it. Additionally, Haupt will take part in cooperation on a national and international scale to potentially create other pilot projects and workshops. The overall goal is to improve football in Germany for its participants.