Lilith Schmidt is 16 years old and is contesting her first senior year ever this season. The fact that she is allowed to compete with the professionals at 1. FC Köln is partly due to good and intensive support from various support centers and courses. But she got the skills she really needed for the women’s Bundesliga from the boys – she’s sure of that.
“I started when I was three or four,” Lilith remembers when she first touched the ball. At the time, her father was the coach of the team in which she started to play club football. The fact that she played there as a matter of course in a mixed-gender team later turned out to be a great advantage.
Just one year later, Lilith switched to JFV Wolfstein, where she was accepted and promoted as a full team member by trainer Matthias Liedtke. Here, too, she is constantly surrounded by boys: “Sometimes there were two or three other girls, sometimes I was the only one on the team,” says Lilith, adding: “Matthias has known me since I was very little. It was for him Of course, encouraging me and not only letting me play, but also giving me responsibility. Of course, this also results in the respect that the boys show you.”
Assertive and Passionate
In her opinion, Lilith benefited above all from the tough duels and the faster game played by the boys. “If you want to keep up there, you have to really counteract it and make it clear to the boys that you’re not a ‘typical girl’. I’ve learned to accept duels and really go in – to assert myself,” says the U-national player, who describes herself and her skills profile sees best on the six.
Through the U13 girls and boys bases, the strong one-on-one driver recommended herself for the Rhineland selection of the girls and while on the one hand she was still playing with the boys of JFV Wolfstein in the C-Junior Rhineland League, on the other hand she made use of the possibility of the right to play a second game Use.
She joined the girls’ U17 Bundesliga team from SC Bad Neuenahr – a lot of extra work for her, but it should be worth it: In addition to the recommendations made by the association’s sports teachers, her performance in the two youth teams was also responsible that despite Corona and the associated lack of viewing opportunities, she received her first invitation to the DFB U15 national team. Although she had to wait a little longer for her international debut due to the pandemic, as part of the U16 national team she was finally allowed to play in the two comparisons with Denmark as a youngster and even scored for the first time in the national team shirt in the second leg.
Women’s Soccer On The Rise
As part of the junior national team, the games of the senior team are of course doubly interesting for her. “I saw every game at the European Championship and was impressed by the level that now prevails there. Physically, the game has gotten better in recent years. The German team is the best example with their intensive style of play,” Lilith sums up. Because of her own career, her favorite position and the strengths associated with it, she naturally impressed one player in particular: “The way Lena Oberdorf wins her duels is simply outstanding. But also the balls she plays: Open up with few contacts and play deep, no matter which foot. Of course, Lena is a kind of role model in my position.”
She now wants to bring these qualities onto the field with the Cologne women and be an added value for the team: “Of course it’s my first year, I have to arrive and gain a foothold. But the team accepted me really well and I learned from the time with the boys how to keep up with the high pace and the intensity,” she explains. For Lilith, this intensity is exactly what makes football so interesting: “When I was still playing in the U17 Bundesliga and also had a game in the Rheinlandliga with the boys, I mostly decided to play with the boys. That challenged me more, simply brought me more,” Lilith is sure.
Of course, the level is different for women. Many players on the team and in the league have followed a similar path as Lilith. “It’s extremely important to join the boys as early as possible,” says Lilith. “If you don’t know any other way, it’s no longer a problem to play with boys. I was never afraid of contact and the boys were used to me too. I earned the respect through my performance and commitment. We have always met as equals. It’s just
important – when you decide to play for the boys – not only to give your all on the pitch, but also to be part of the team off it.” She therefore advises talented and ambitious girls: “If you’re in a boys’ team, the coach knows, or gets along well with some of the players, then dare and go.”
The paths of various national players and Lilith show where this can lead. The 16-year-old has now left home for 1. FC Köln and the women’s Bundesliga and moved to a boarding school in Cologne. She also had to change schools accordingly and is now doing her Abitur at a high school in Cologne, which should give her access to a psychology degree: “Even if women’s football is becoming more and more professional, we know very well that we have a second career alongside our professional career need a foothold. Many players study on the side. I find psychology exciting and would of course like to go in the direction of sports psychology,” says Lilith. At “Effzeh“, the young professionals receive full support in shaping their dual careers: “Thanks to a cooperation between the club and the Olympic base here in Cologne, we are closely accompanied on our way. We can go there at any time with our questions and take advantage of the career advice. This is how we get all the information about universities, courses, top-class sports programs and so on.”
Lilith was able to use the summer holidays to arrive in Cologne and take her first steps with the women’s Bundesliga team. Now it is important to remain injury-free and to step on the gas so much on the pitch outside of school that she will soon be able to play her first competitive matches: “We have a strong team and a good mix of experience and talent. Of course, the competition is also strong in my position, but we work well together and help each other. The older players pass on tips and their experience. I don’t put any pressure on myself at first, I want to prove myself in training and earn my first assignments,” Lilith imagines her first season with the women.