From MTV Gifhorn to the USA – This is the path that Erik Weinhauer and Noah Moreno Silva took this summer, leaving Major League Soccer for a transatlantic sports scholarship. Meaning: study and football away from home. For the first time in a long time, the two great friends who until recently lived in a communal apartment in Braunschweig broke up. They have now been in North America for a few days and are reporting on their first experiences on campus.
Weinhauer has been at Illinois Central College in Peoria, near Chicago, since Friday, August 13. A date doesn’t seem like a bad omen, but a good first impression, even if not everything is perfect. “I live here on campus in a four-person apartment with three teammates,” Gifhorn’s top clippers from last season reported. The team is international, the 25-man squad also includes Italians, Spaniards, Australians, French and a kicker from Zimbabwe. “I live with twins who came from close to Dortmund and an Englishman in a shared flat. But we only speak English, and we want to practice the language.”
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After all, it is also about learning, and university makes a good impression. Not necessarily the sports complex. “The training ground is a disaster. The stadium we play is better, but not as good as Gifhorn”, complains Weinhauer, who doesn’t want to let it down. “I don’t want to be too quick to judge either, I’ll do my best.” Perhaps in a year he will be drawn to a larger, better-equipped college, and there are already inquiries. “But first I want to play my first games and show myself.” Unusual: The college season in the United States lasts only two and a half months, with a tight schedule.
When he was on the plane when he left, it was a strange feeling, says the 20-year-old. “My friend, whom I miss very much, gave me a necklace as a deposit. In math class I looked at it spontaneously – and suddenly I lost my mind. I was really away for five minutesBut he hasn’t yet had any issues with homesickness – even if it’s a ‘difficult situation,’ says Weinhauer with a smile. Coach Michael Goesis.
And Moreno Silva also maintains contact – at home, Chicago and Gifhorn. “If we could, Eric and I would watch every MTV game online,” the linebacker said. “We’d like to help, but Jeffhorn has a good team. We didn’t get off to a good start last year and then finished fourth.” The farewell was a tough one for Moreno Silva, who now plays at Young Harris College near Atlanta, not just from MTV. “My father and my girlfriend took me to the airport. My friend wrote and gave me messages that I have to open in certain situations. It’s weird because otherwise we were all together.”
Housing condition gets used to it
The 20-year-old has yet to get used to his local conditions. He lives in a classic student residence hall in the United States. He shares the bedroom with his American teammate, and the toilet and shower with the entire floor in the hallway. “It takes a lot of getting used to that.” This also applies to the team. There are 45 kickers in the huge squad, which also consists of international players who have trained in Espanyol Barcelona, Olympique de Marseille or Feyenoord Rotterdam.
“The top team made me doubt a little at first, that wasn’t discussed, but I have to work my way up so far.” After all, ten players left the team in December after the season because they were leaving the university. “I’m not sure yet if I’ll finish my studies here,” Moreno Silva says. But: “For my life experience and for language learning, time in the USA is good for me either way.”
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