Mid-year is always a drastic date for many footballers. Contracts often expire at the end of June, and from 1 July footballers – in the amateur and professional sectors – have contracts with other clubs. For Steffen Wohlfarth his time at FV Ravensburg came to an end at the end of June, the 38-year-old has nothing permanent yet. In an interview with Thorsten Kern, the former professional recalls good and less good moments in the top soccer league and talks about his plans for the future.
Mr. Wohlfarth, the FV Ravensburg chapter is over for now. The team has started preparations, and you are no longer a coach. A strange feeling or a nice feeling?
I’m fine, it’s good that this chapter is now closed. Of course, it was also a strange feeling to look at the photos from the beginning of the training. But I still have a one-year contract (the club and Wohlfarth have yet to sign a termination agreement, editor’s note) and for fun I said that I would go to training. Joking aside: So far everything has been cleared up, the topic is over. There are new tasks to come and that’s always exciting.
New keyword tasks: is there something fixed, something concrete?
I would like to sit a lot, use my contacts, look at clubs, study a lot. I want to see new things. I was actually alone with my coaching team in the first team of FV after the departure of Peter Mörth (former sports director, editor’s note). With the great team of coaches I was alone, we no longer had a sports director who was as close to the team as Peter. I would be happy to receive more support from the club. But of course, I also know that with amateur clubs there is always a financial question of whether or not you can afford the external sports director for the first team.
Steffen Wohlfarth resigns from FV Ravensburg
When you look back on your nine years at FV Ravensburg. What good and less beautiful moments come to your mind?
The best or funniest experience was the first match day after qualifying to the Oberliga in Nöttingen. We hardly had any players experienced in the Premier League and Nöttingen played against the wall with us so often. We were losing 2-0 at half-time and we could be further behind. Then I had a little chat on the pitch with coach Gerhard Rill. When I entered the dressing room, the players looked like they wanted to go straight home. We encouraged them, but the first action in the second half resulted in an own goal at 3-0. But in the end we played 3-3 and we could even win. In retrospect, this break moment was strange and beautiful. I have witnessed the journey of many young players in the Oberliga.
The victory in the Association Cup 2016 is certainly one of the most beautiful moments …
Naturally. A year earlier, we had lost the final to Reutlingen and we thought that such a chance would never happen again. A year later we were in the final again and we won. It was a great moment. Emotionally, however, the DFB Cup match against Augsburg was the most beautiful. And not even the match itself, but to see the faces of the players, when they arrived at the stadium, they saw the fans. For the first time, they were allowed to play in the DFB Cup and played a match live on TV. It was the first time that I hurt myself badly. But I was still glad that Rahman Soyudogru, who had never played in the DFB Cup, joined me.
Denis Videc brings a lot of experience to helping FV Ravensburg
And less beautiful moments?
There have been a lot of negative things over the past six months. Non-sporting, we played a decent round in a difficult situation with many injuries. Only Freiberg and Kickers have lost fewer matches than we have. We had way too many draws, but we played a lot of great games. It is a pity that the mood has emerged. It was also because we didn’t have a sports director who could remove negative vibrations. Especially when the topic of a possible relegation battle appeared. I missed a little support from the club. I don’t want to criticize some people in the club with that, everyone is trying their best. That’s why I said at the end that a breath of fresh air would be good for the club. But I liked the club a lot and maybe I will come back one day. I am in a perfectly good mood and I wish the team a promotion. Even if it is very difficult.
Can you say something about the clubs you’ll be sitting in? Are they professional teams or youth teams?
First I will be able to sit at the club in the youth academy. It will be interesting, because there will be experienced and young trainers whom I will be able to look around. I want to see them do it. In FV, I learned a lot from my assistant coach Andreas Raaf and also from sports coach Tobias Ganzmann. They brought me a lot but now I want to see other coaches do it. I’d like to learn more and then see what an attractive task might be possible.
As a trainer-intern, are you a kind of intern?
I myself have never been an observer. I think it varies from coach to coach. Jürgen Klopp certainly wouldn’t say, “Steffen, train.” You are more likely to be involved in conversations, stand aside, observe, and take notes. The conversation I had with the first coach that I will be attending from July 11 was good. I am fully integrated into the team, I can conduct part of the training and work with talented people in the youth academy. So I have full insight.
FV Ravensburg loses test match against Illertissen
Where do you see yourself in a few months? Have you set a schedule when you want to be on the sidelines again?
It’s a cool thing, now I can find out and see what my position might be. In FV, there were actually only talks about becoming a sports director after my time. But then I got the certificates to have a say, to know what was going on. But the thought of becoming a coach never really existed. But then Peter Mörth decided that I should become a coach and I liked it very much. But I don’t know if I’m more of the head coach type looking to make decisions, or an assistant coach or a sports director. I would like to spend half a year to find out what I want. Therefore, it was the first time that I sat down at NSAIDs to see if working with young people could be the right solution for me. I want to see what I want. And I want to try a soccer teacher.
As a soccer coach, could you train almost anything, even in the Bundesliga?
Exactly. Now it is officially called the UEFA Pro License, which means you can train in all leagues around the world. I currently have an A license which means I can train in everything except the first, second and third leagues.
Can you imagine working in women’s soccer or have you had any experience there?
My father was a women’s trainer in Tettnang. Of course, I can imagine it, and I’d like to be on the women’s team as well, because I’d like to see how everything works there. I find it very interesting. I played SC Freiburg U19 against the women’s national team. Athletic was a big difference, but women have improved a lot in recent years. Everything has become much more dynamic. After all, 20 years have passed since the game.
FV Ravensburg signs a contract with defense attorney Lukas Preuss
But in early 2023 it should be clear what direction should things go? Do you want to have a permanent job by then?
Of course, I would prefer it right away. But in football, nothing can be planned. So much can happen so quickly. It may also happen that I find nothing that suits me and I return to my normal working life. Since you can’t plan whether or not you will actually end up in paid football, a lot of things have to fit.
Is it easier for you to devote your time to those six months because you know you have an education up your sleeve and you’re not just betting on football?
Final. I didn’t come to Ravensburg nine years ago because football hasn’t moved on. I was 29 years old, staying in Scotland was out of the question, even if they wanted to extend my stay for two years. I didn’t want to go to the 3rd league anymore, I had already played 100 matches and I didn’t want to strain any more. Here in Ravensburg, I had the opportunity to prove myself by studying industrial engineering. It was nice to get a bachelor’s degree. But what many underestimate: it is extremely difficult to combine a full-time job with a coach in the Oberliga. The coach’s job never ends, so I cut Rafi down. You also have to pay tribute to what they endured in the Ekstraklasa – ultimately for relatively little money.
The coronation crisis certainly didn’t make it any easier, did it?
no Example: We played 42 games last season, eight or nine English weeks. Players must spend many days off to football, plus a training camp. You need to take your hat off of what players and their partners are doing.