David Bauer has played over 100 games for TSV Rain. Now his athletic talent has brought him to study in the USA.
David Bauer has not yet fully arrived in Germany, he is already back on the field. It is the middle of October when TSV Rain’s second team is in the District League the BC Adelzhausen has a guest. The fact that Bauer is on the field is anything but self-evident: The 26-year-old usually plays for the TSV regional league team. And actually he left his regular team in August, swapping the red and white Rainer jersey for a blue one – that of the Fighting Knights of Lynn University in Florida. Bauer is studying there on a scholarship. He owes the opportunity to his talent as a footballer.
For a long time he had wanted to study abroad, says Bauer. “My girlfriend said I should definitely do this,” he says. Rainer already has a bachelor’s degree in sports management in his pocket, also during his studies for the FC Augsburg worked.
The university offers the Rainer a scholarship
By chance he gets in touch with a small agency that arranges scholarships for athletes at US universities. Lynn University in Boca Raton, near Miami, is interested in him. In the summer of 2020, Bauer will pack his things – and move to Florida for a master’s degree. “Life on campus is a bit like in a movie,” he says.
Many Americans have to go into heavy debt if they want to study. Bauer would also have incurred exorbitant expenses if he had to finance his studies abroad himself. “The universities here are like companies,” he explains. They finance themselves with the students’ fees – which means that they are in fierce competition with one another. In the battle for many applicants, they try to be as attractive as possible.
The teammates of TSV Rain are possibly a little jealous
One means to do this: successful sports teams. This is a great advantage for outstanding athletes like Bauer. In order to attract them to the university, the institutions award scholarships. The course, including accommodation and meals, is therefore free for Bauer – as a reward for his commitment to the football team.
Many of his teammates at TSV Rain are likely to think of the defender’s life in Florida with a little envy. Farmer can go to the beach by bike, bathing weather is year-round in Boca Raton. And the university is also way ahead of many regional league clubs in Bavaria when it comes to infrastructure. Bauer lives on campus in one of the dormitories and shares his room with a teammate from Canada.
The restrictions during the corona pandemic are bearable in Florida, he says. The weather allows you to do a lot outside, with a low risk of infection and at a distance. Bauer likes it in the sunny state, and you can’t ignore it on the phone on the other side of the Atlantic. And yet he remains connected to his homeland.
During the break from studying, David Bauer plays for TSV Rain
Back to October: When the university took a break in autumn, he made his way back to Northern Swabia. There he is not too bad to start immediately for Rain II in the district league. Above all, Bauer and his teammates in defense convince on his return and do not concede a goal, TSV wins against Adelzhausen 1-0. The plane landed only a few hours earlier, and Bauer can still feel the jet lag a little on the field, as he says. It goes without saying that the mission was for him, says Bauer, despite all the travel strains and although the first team has already made claims again.
There, too, he plays twice in October, playing 90 minutes each time as if he had never been away. Then increasing numbers of infections force the regional league into another break. Nonetheless, since he left, Bauer has played more games for Rain than for his university.
The first league games in Florida are scheduled for April
In Boca Raton, gaming is still on hold due to the pandemic. Bauer has been back in Florida since January, and the first league games for his team are not scheduled for April. But he still has enough to do: Bauer wants to advance his master’s degree, and he could be done with it by December. And his team is training at full capacity despite the break in the game.
True is Soccer in the USA Just one sport among many, so the technical training may therefore be less mature than in Europe, says Bauer. But the training is therefore all the harder: “The players make up for the deficits with outstanding fitness.” Bauer sees the team’s athletic ability at least at Bayernliga level, and several teammates also come from Germany.
Some have made it to professional footballers via the USA
Bauer hopes that his time in Florida will, above all, help him personally and professionally. But there are also role models who made the leap to professional footballers via the USA. Fabian Herbers, for example, played fifth class in Germany before becoming Bastian Schweinsteiger’s teammate at Chicago Fire as a college graduate in 2019.
And Julian Gressel went to the States in 2013 from Neustadt an der Aisch in Franconia, got a professional contract in Atlanta after graduating from university, was named Young Player of the Year in 2017 and was the first German to win the championship title in the highest US league in 2018. “I’m open to everything, maybe there is a little back door,” says Bauer. “But I wasn’t thinking of a professional career when I came here.”
David Bauer is an “absolute leader” at TSV Rain
The defender at TSV Rain would certainly be granted such a career – but in Tillystadt they are already hoping that Bauer will join the team again. “He’s an absolute leader,” says Alexander Schroder, Head of Football at TSV. “He’s always a part of us.” From May to August, when Bauer is on vacation again, Schroder is hoping for a few appearances in the regional league again.