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“IT HAS BECOME MY GREAT PASSION”
Timo Heinze always dreamed of having a football career. He played for the FC Bayern and DFB youth teams but never made it as a professional. He stopped playing football and concentrated on his education, studying management and communication at the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Köln, where he has also just started another course in psychology. However, he found his way back to his great passion and fulfilled his dream of a career in football, even though it wasn’t the path he ever expected to take. As the current captain of the national futsal team, he even scored the first goal in Germany’s history against England.
To understand how he has reached this point, you have to look more closely at Heinze’s life so far. He has had ups, but has also had to deal with disappointments and set-backs. The 30 year old was once a huge talent, he played for the DFB youth teams and all of the Bayern youth sides. He was even the captain of the Bayern U23s – it was surely then just a question of time until he made the step to professional football. However, due to an injury and a decision by the coaching staff, he was forced to abandon his dream – no Champions League, no Bundesliga, no professional football.
Suddenly, he called SpVgg Unterhaching’s Sportpark home and not the Allianz Arena. “At that time, everything went bad very quickly. The time came when I asked myself how I wanted to continue,” revealed Heinze. Therefore, with a heavy heart, he said goodbye to football and his dream and started studying.
However, life often throws up surprises. “A couple of class mates told me about a futsal tournament with the university team. They didn’t know my background and didn’t know that I’m actually quite good at football,” said Heinze. And this is how his journey began. Heinze went to the tournament with his friend, “we didn’t know much about the sport so to avoid embarrassing ourseves we looked up the most important rules on the train there.”
“Futsal has become a great passion,” he says. “I’m happy that I found it.” Currently, he plays for the Futsal Panthers Köln in Germany’s highest division, if all goes well, they have the chance of winning the German championship at the end of the season. Heinze has also become a pioneer of the sport and if you ask him about it, you always get the same answer: “Futsal is an amazing sport,” and why? “It’s end-to-end, you’re constantly on the ball and moving and you have to be able to do a bit of everything. It’s just great fun.”
Heinze also now has a story for his grandchildren. He can tell them that he achieved something historic for the Germany national team – he scored their first goal ever in the sport. It happened two months ago in an encounter with England, the hall in Hamburg was sold-out and the match was even being broadcast live on TV. Seven minutes and 40 second into the game, “I gambled at the far post and the ball suddenly came to my feet and I pushed it over the line.” Germany won the game 5-3.
The next steps for him and his team have already been defined. At the start of 2017, the first qualification round for the 2018 European Championships in Slovenia start. “I consider our qualification for the Euros virtually impossible,” he notes, “the gap between us and the other nations is too big, but we’ve started on our way in this sport in Germany. I feel a huge sense of optimism.” And Heinze is of course proud that he’s made his contribution to the sport and is again a part of the Germany national team – just like he was as a youth team player. It seems everything has come full circle.