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Extraordinary Football History: Emmerting, Kansas, Vestmannyjaer

Hanna Kallmaier in the Kansas Jayhawks jersey: College football in the USA is part of her history, which has now led her to the Westman Islands.

Hanna Kallmaier comes from Emmerting in Upper Bavaria in the district of Altötting and plays football for the Icelandic first division team ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar. She is 28 years old and can already look back on an exciting career with stations all over the world.

She never relies solely on her talent on the pitch. In the spirit of independence, she works on several projects and completes various university degrees and further training in the field of sports. In 2012, after graduating from high school, all doors are open to Hanna. A year earlier, she had finished third at the U17 European Championships together with today’s senior internationals Sara Däbritz and Lina Magull. She plays for the youth team of FC Bayern and gets a professional offer from the club. But she decides against the offer and in favor of a sports scholarship in the USA. A decision she hasn’t regretted to this day. Because in the USA she can do more than just play football. At her college in Kansas, in addition to first-class equipment and support in the field of sports, she also has the opportunity to complete a degree at the same time.

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An opportunity that would not have existed for her in Germany. “Either you study or you play professional football,” she says. Combining both is possible, but only with a lot of effort.

Football alone is not enough for her

The conditions in college sports are also at the highest level. “You’re practically better looked after than at any professional club in the Bundesliga,” says Hanna. And interpersonal relationships also suit her. She gets to know some of her best friends here. In Kansas, Hanna plays for the college team, the Jayhawks. Opponents are the best colleges in the country. At the same time, the Upper Bavarian is studying sports science and psychology. Hanna learns to assert herself at an early age. She played on the boys’ team up until the C youth level.

Emmerting, Kansas, Vestmannyjaer of DJK Emmerting – that formed the character, she is sure. “Especially if you want to be successful,” said the well-travelled woman. “You can really learn how to assert yourself there,” says Hanna Kallmaier. She likes it so much in the USA that she went straight on and added a “Master of Business Administration” to her college degree from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. During this time, she transitions from active player to assistant coach, but continues to train. In 2019 she finished her Masters and is considering staying in the USA for a longer period of time. But the political situation there is changing. Naturalization laws are getting stricter, and she feels like she’s “not done playing soccer.” So she contacted her former coach, who contacted her current manager, who placed her in a team in the first Swedish league.

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She has always dreamed of discovering Scandinavian countries and their culture, so this option is perfect for her. In Sweden she only plays for Kvarnsvedens IK for half a year. Then she goes to Iceland, more precisely to the Westman Islands,
where she is playing today A friend from the USA already plays there and arouses her interest in football in the North Atlantic. One notices how much fun she has in discovering new things and experiencing foreign countries, even if she is very attached to her Upper Bavarian homeland, simply because of her family. In Iceland she has been playing for ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar in the women’s premier league, the “Besta deild kvenna”, for two years now and definitely wants to finish this season there. Because in Iceland, the current football season lasts until October and does not start again until the end of April due to the weather.

The dream of home in the back of your mind

Even if playing football is “financially enough for Hanna to live on”, as she says herself, she does not rest on her sports career. Together with a friend, she runs a kind of agency that is supposed to arrange scholarships for other young girls in the USA – the WSS, short for Women Soccer Scholarship. She is also doing a second master’s degree online, and is enrolled in “Training Science and Sports Nutrition” at the IST University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf. To compensate, to “be able to switch off a bit”, as Hanna says, she plants flowers in the city together with teammates and does gardening work. She also has a small side business as a fitness coach, which should take off next year. But one thing is certain for her: at some point she definitely wants to return home, preferably as a strength and athletics trainer for a Bundesliga club, ideally with FC Bayern, of course. She herself says: “Fortunately, my homeland is not running away from me.”

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