Oliver Hüsing has achieved what many children dream of: becoming a professional soccer player. In our podcast, Oliver talks about his path to Werder Bremen and the detours he took to become a professional, his everyday life as a professional soccer player, and his projects outside the soccer pitch.
"When I was ten, my only Christmas wish was to be allowed to train with the Werder pros one day," Oliver says at the beginning of the Normal Gets You Nowhere podcast. This wish and a big sister who tries to fulfill her brother's heart's desire are the starting signal for the career of the now 28-year-old. Starting out as a footballer with BV Bühren, his sister writes a letter to Werder Bremen with the content of his brother's wish. On the rejection that it is unfortunately not possible with the professionals, nevertheless follows the invitation to the then U11 of the North German professional club. "When I was told this news on Christmas Eve, I couldn't talk at all for the next two hours and was as white as a sheet," Oliver says with a laugh. The speechlessness is no coincidence: Oliver, who grew up on his parents' farm near Diepholz, was infected with the "Werder virus" as a young boy. "I was already a huge Werder fan back then and collected everything, caps cups, school cones from Werder," Oliver says with a laugh. After three or four trial training sessions, Oliver was able to convince the coaches of his favorite club at the time, and the switch to Werder followed. From then on, commuting between Diepholz and Bremen for five or six times a week followed for eight years. In addition to the numerous positive experiences directly related to soccer, such as frequent tournaments abroad in Europe or even in Asia, for Oliver it is rather other things that have remained in his mind. "What has shaped me extremely was that I came out of the small village to Bremen at the age of eleven, where so many cultures, different views and different backgrounds meet. This made me enormously cosmopolitan," Oliver tells us. It is this "school of character" that Oliver also emphasizes as a positive for all those who do not make it to the professional ranks. "Life in the team teaches you so many things: respect in dealing with people, tolerance, sticking to rules, achieving things together as a team. All of that is synonymous with being a sportsman," the pro says of his formative youth. When Oliver moved to Bremen at the age of 18, the dream of becoming a professional became a clearly defined goal, which he then came one step closer to after the U19 A-youth with the promotion to the U23 reserve of Werder.
After good performances in the Bundesliga reserve team, Oliver was then allowed to train with the professionals. He remembers this exciting time well to this day. "I sat in the dressing room like a little mouse and looked at people like Pizarro, Aaron Hunt, Arnautovic and Sokratis with such eyes. In retrospect, though, I would have liked to have been much bolder and more confident. I think then it could have been enough for more assignments." Despite the regular training sessions, only three Bundesliga appearances were enough at the beginning and the first "detours" on the way to becoming a professional began. The trained central defender learns pretty quickly how quickly these detours can come to you. "I just moved with my girlfriend at the time and then the sports director comes to you and tells you to leave now. That was definitely a learning effect, how fast it can go." After a few offers from the third division, the first move to Rostock followed, where Oliver was in a relegation battle with FC Hansa in the third division, but completely acclimated to professional soccer and returned to Werder after six months. After a good preparation in the summer and with the promise to start the season as a third central defender, the year is disappointing for Oliver. Due to the empty promises at the time and the shuttling between the first and second teams, there is a lack of concentration and a difficult year in terms of sport follows. "After this year, it was clear to me that I want and need to do something new," says Oliver on this difficult time. The new chapter is called Budapest after this summer. To the "FC Bayern" of Hungary, Ferencvaros Budapest the German coach Thomas Doll brings him, with a year's delay, as Oliver tells us. "The city was madness, the stadium was madness, it was the very best conditions. And even though it wasn't always easy from a sporting point of view, it helped me enormously as a human being." After his one-year stop abroad, Oliver made another move to Rostock, where he became captain and was nicknamed "Captain America. After two extremely successful years, it's time to take another step forward: 2nd league, FC Heidenheim. In the 19/20 season, Oliver knocked on the door of the Bundesliga at the Baden-Württemberg second division club and only failed in the relegation, against Werder Bremen of all teams. Now an undisputed regular with over 260 professional appearances, Oliver explains what matters to him in his job. "The most important thing is always to keep going. Stay with yourself, prepare well, follow up, be disciplined. These phrases are easy to say, but actually doing this is what matters," says Oliver, who also dispels the cliché that professionals only spend the free time they have playing Playstation. "I do my neuro-athletics training, yoga, breathing exercises, meditations at home.
That's all part of it. On the one hand, I need it for my game, but also to feel good as a person," says Oliver, who then says with a wink, "maybe I just need it because I don't have that much talent. Oliver is currently playing in his third season at FC Heidenheim and, under coach Frank Schmidt, is once again one of the extended group of favorites for promotion to the top flight. Oliver's activities off the soccer field prove that he still keeps an eye on other important things in life. One of these is his own soccer club, Fums United, which was founded together with the soccer magazine Fums. Founded in Bremen, the club currently consists of three teams: a men's and women's team, as well as an inclusion team, which is the "flagship" of the Bremen club and is expected to participate in the colorful league after Corona. "It just makes your heart beat faster," says Oliver succinctly when asked about "his" club, which also works closely with Lebenshilfe Bremen. But this is not the only project Oliver is involved in. Projects with old people's homes or projects for Trauerland Bremen, which looks after children who have lost relatives, are just as important to him. If you think that this must be enough now, you are wrong about Oliver. Because in addition to his life as a professional and his social commitment, he has now also completed a Bachelor's and Master's degree at the University of Oldenburg and the University of Wismar, respectively. In a course of study geared towards competitive athletes, it is also here that Oliver's encounters and stories with other athletes stand out. The topic of his bachelor's thesis also shows that Oliver is a guy who thinks outside the box. "I looked at continuing education behavior in the third division," says Oliver, who at the time asked himself the question of how soccer players, who are involved in professional soccer but also don't earn millions, prepare for the post-professional era. "Surprisingly, a lot more than you think are doing something on the side," Oliver said.
When asked about his future, the Heidenheim professional, whose contract expires in the summer of 2022, is not yet thinking too much. "First and foremost, I want to play a great season and enjoy every day. Of course, my dream is to play in the Bundesliga again. In the long term, playing another year in the U.S. would also be cool," says Oliver on the subject of soccer. When asked about his plans after his career, Oliver isn't quite sure yet what his path will look like. "I could already imagine working in management. On the other hand, I come from agriculture and it would be cool to have his own self-sufficient farm, have a few sheep, grow your own vegetables. But I don't have to know it yet," Oliver concludes.
Talking to Oliver, you notice that he is very reflective about his job and the chance to be a professional. His social commitment proves that there are also things that are bigger than football. His likeable manner makes Oliver an inspiring person, and we wish him all the best for the future.
You can now listen to these and other inspiring stories as podcasts! On normalgetsyounowhere.de you can find all episodes with links to the most popular podcast platforms. Have fun listening!