Garmisch teen has tools to make soccer dreams come true
June 11, 2006
Even though he’s just 15, Kevin Durr of Garmisch, Germany, is well on his way to realizing his goal of becoming a professional soccer player.
“Preferably in England or Germany,” said the 5-foot-4, 125-pounder center midfielder, “but Major League Soccer would be fine, too.”
Durr, son of Marshall Center staff member Peter Durr, isn’t just harboring daydreams. He is the only non-German on the under-15 squad for one of soccer’s most exalted organizations, 20-time German champion Bayern Munich. In March, he took his game to the United States, where he impressed the coaching staff during the U.S. national team’s under-15 training camp at Carson, Calif.
“I think we’d like to get to know him more,” U.S. Under-15 assistant coach Tony Lepore remarked of the Munich International School sophomore-to-be. “He fit in well with the team, and in terms of ideas and feet, he’s one of the better guys in the group.”
Durr, recommended for the national team camp after standing out during an Olympic Development Program camp in Bitburg the previous summer, followed the California camp by joining an ODP all-star team for games in Paris and Italy last month.
It’s a heavy schedule for a teenager, but Durr’s used to it.
“We have pretty serious practices every day, about one-and-half hours, then games on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said of his regimen with Bayern. “My mom picks me up after school at 4 and drives me to practice.”
Since it’s more than 50 miles, and more than an hour’s driving time from autobahn-challenged Munich to the family home in Garmisch, travel time became a serious issue for the Durr family. Kevin’s older brother, Stefan, 17, was playing for another team, based in a different Munich suburb from Bayern, until transportation became too complicated.
“The logistics of having both boys play at different times in different places in Munich was just too much,” said Peter Durr, the boys’ father who was Army attaché in Bonn for four years before being assigned to Garmisch. He said those problems plus the burden of the rigorous international baccalaureate program the brothers pursue at MIS led the family to limit Stefan’s soccer to the school team and playing for the local club, FC Garmisch.
Stefan responded by making the International Schools’ All-Europe team, arousing interest from U.S. college coaches and maintaining his family superiority over Kevin.
“He’s still my little brother,” Stefan said.
This summer, both boys are planning to visit U.S. universities, preparing the ground for the college careers both desire.
“If you play with a youth club in Germany, they ask you to turn pro when you’re 17 or 18. If you get hurt at that time, it’s hard to come back,” Durr said in explaining why he’s not following the route most top-level German youngsters use to get to the pros. “If I go to college, I can get stronger and faster and have something to fall back on.”
He’s also hoping for a callback to the U.S. national team camp.
Although he said the level of play there was “a bit higher” than he had previously experienced, his skills and soccer sense pulled him through.
“I was integrated with the group right from the beginning,” he said, “and had no problem feeling like part of the team.”
It figured. Being awestruck by being in fast company wasn’t in the cards for him. That was for others.
“When he went into the locker room and people asked him where he played,” brother Stefan pointed out, “he said, ‘Bayern Munich.’ No one else there could say that.”