An interview with Germany’s new talent, who looks forward to developing his skills in the Russian or Italian leagues
David Hoeveler is a player from the German national beach soccer team who also represents German club BR Düsseldorf. In this interview with BSRussia, David talked about his path in Beach Soccer, his views on the development of the sport, the difficulties of the training process in a lockdown, and, of course, expectations for the World Cup in Moscow.
— So David, how did you get into beach soccer?
— Oh, it’s a simple story. I played 11-a-side football in Germany’s fifth league when I was 18. In the first season, I got injured. During rehabilitation, I spent a lot of time on the sand, including playing with the ball. That’s how I got into the company of my friend who played Beach Soccer, but only as a hobby. He asked me: “Do you want to play with me? Maybe it will be useful for you”, I thought “why not?”. It was the start of my path in Beach Soccer.
I just played for fun, and then Oliver Romrig came to me and asked if I wanted to practice with the Beach Royals Dusseldorf. That’s how I joined the professional team.
— And now Beach Soccer is your main sport?
— Yeah, Beach Soccer is the only sport I play right now. Of course, I can play with my friends on the grass, but my efforts are now focused on the sand.
— The past season was very difficult for the whole sport. How did it go for you?
— It was tough. To develop yourself, you have to play at a high-level, compete with strong rival teams. In 2020, we only played in the Euro Beach Soccer League, the Euro Winners Cup and several matches in the national league. It is complicated to develop your skills with such little playing practice. So it was a tough season for everybody.
Of course, it would be great for everyone if there were more competitions, but I understand that in the current conditions, the organisation of any tournament faces a huge number of difficulties.
— Do you train now without restrictions?
— The other day in Germany, there was a discussion that the lockdown will last at least until the end of February. So we can only train individually in the gym. I work with my Fitness Coach three days a week, and three days a week I go out on the sand in the arena. But we can only play in pairs, so we do not have team training. I look forward to it because only by working as a whole team can we grow professionally. In three or four months of training in pairs, you already get out of the regular training process. It will take time to get back into it again.
— After some doubts by the end of last year, what is the future you see for the for the German national team, also taking in consideration the challenges of training together due to restrictions?
— This is a difficult question. If we can play and all the problems are solved, we can prepare well enough and be highly motivated. The Euro Beach Soccer League 2020 showed that we have a great young team with great potential. I am very proud to be a part of it. We are ready to prove to the whole world that the German national team can play at the highest level in Beach Soccer, like our colleagues from the 11-a-side national team.
We really want to develop our sport in the country to compete with the best teams. For us, Switzerland is an example. We have the same growth conditions, but they’ve played for more than 15 years and have achieved worldwide recognition. We’re still young, but we have everything we need to go in the same direction.
— The Swiss national team has world-class stars such as Dejan Stankovic and Noel Ott, who have been a kind of “locomotive” for the Beach Soccer development. Which German player can claim the same role?
— Undoubtedly, it is Christian Biermann and Sascha Weirauch. These are the players who have a lot of international experience. It is crucial for us, young players, to learn from them, watch their game, and use their knowledge and experience. They help us to step up year after year. These two players are now the key to the development of our national team.
— In a recent interview with one of the German newspapers, you said that you dream of playing in the Russian league. Which Russian clubs and players impressed you the most? And why do you want to try yourself in our championship?
— Russia and Italy have the strongest leagues in the world. Russia also has an excellent infrastructure for Beach Soccer. So, they are all development opportunities. One of my favorite players is Boris Nikonorov. He’s an absolute monster. His game is incredibly strong. When I see him in action, I have only one thought: “Wow!”. He always plays with incredible energy. It is an absolute dream for me to work alongside such a player or play against him.
Playing for such big clubs as Lokomotiv, Kristall, or Spartak, you can focus only on Football and grow as a player. In Russia, Beach Soccer is greatly supported, and teams have more opportunities. That’s why performing in Russia is my dream, and I’m working on it.
— If any of the Russian clubs will invite you to participate in a short tournament, such as the Russian Cup, will you accept such an offer?
— Of course! I don’t even care what club it will be. The most important thing for me is to play. If such an offer comes, I will immediately say “yes” without hesitation (smiles). It will allow me to learn a lot, so there can be no other answers from me. If I am invited, I’ll be there the next day.
— If we talk about learning something in Beach Soccer, it is impossible not to notice that the game has become more tactical. Teams with great goalkeepers who play well with their feet have a considerable advantage. How much of this trend makes Beach Soccer more theoretical? And do you agree with those who say that it reduces the attractiveness of the game itself?
— It’s true that now goalkeepers have a massive impact on the game, but I don’t think it’s killing the Beach Soccer vibe at all. It is a lot of various schemes. You can invent new styles, try a lot of “homemade” stuff. Beach Soccer has become even more interesting in this regard.
Of course, if you have a Goalkeeper who has good control of the ball with his feet, that’s a significant advantage, and you can vary your tactics and positioning on the field depending on the playing situation. If you have Andrade at your goal and the Martins brothers and Jordan on the field, your team’s arsenal is almost inexhaustible. For me, this trend seems to be a plus. The goalkeepers are involved in the game and play a quarterback role, as in American Football, and the team has the variability to create one-on-one situations.
— What are your general expectations from the World Championship in Moscow? Will it be a big disadvantage for Beach Soccer in general if restrictions remain and the tournament won’t be held with full stands?
— Without fans, Beach soccer loses some of its unique dynamics, people cannot interact from the stands, and spread the vibe through social media, for example. Without the cheerleaders, the tournament will lose a lot as well.
Of course, I would really like to participate in such a celebration as part of the German national team, but if it does not work out, then, if possible, I will come as a spectator to see everything live. Well, like many others, I would like to see a super-match between Russia and Brazil. It would be a great conclusion of the main world tournament from all points of view.
— What are your plans for the 2021 season?
— I would like to play in one of the best leagues in the world. Italian or Russian, but Russia is a priority for me in this regard. It would good to qualify for the World Cup. If the Euro Beach Soccer League takes place, then achieving more than last year would be a goal and of course, work hard to reach a new level.
— How long do you think it will take for the sport to return to its usual form and to forget about all the restrictions?
— I really hope that by the end of the year, everything will be normalized, and in 2022, we will be able to play for the fans without any restrictions, as it should be.
— And our traditional question. What players would you be most happy to play alongside?
— Philipp Borer, the Martins brothers, and Andrade between the sticks.
This article is an abridged version of an interview carried out by BSRussia.