The man catcher stefan ruckel is not quite finished yet

The man catcher stefan ruckel is not quite finished yet

Everything has its time, even for someone like stefan ruckel, of whom one could get the impression that he never ends his career. Ruckel, the seemingly eternal trainer at TSV geiselwind: this summer, after 37 long years, the time had finally come. He will end his coaching career, that was the info he sent to his hometown club and the associated junior team a few weeks ago. The step was not easy for him, the 61-year-old admits – as it was for someone who could be found at the soccer field every day over the years? Now that he is in semi-retirement and thus facing a new phase in his life, he thought the moment was right. So the bottom line.

"The corona break also played its part to some extent", says ruckel. "I thought about what was important to me. I wanted to have more free time and thought: now i have to make the cut." He had no official function at the TSV geiselwind any more. Nevertheless, he was actively involved in the football department, especially in the youth section. Things did not always go off without a hitch, ruckel sometimes bumped into things. "I am someone who speaks his mind, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable. That doesn’t always come across", he says. Nevertheless, he was and still is in demand as an advisor. After all, he knows the department like no other.

Often he took over a club that was at the back of the pack

Even today, he says that he knows every current soccer player in his club – from the youngest G-juniors to the old men. This is typical for him. As a coach, ruckel does not have any top-class merits to show – the end was at the district class – but that did not matter to him. He did not seek the limelight. He often took over a club that was at the bottom of the table in order to build it up, that was what attracted him. And this also shows his soft spot for weaker. Ruckel was not only a sportsman, but also a reliable constant, someone who always asked himself what he could do for his club and society and not the other way around. He has also been a member of the parish council for two decades.

Professionally, the trained machinist was a group leader at a large company. Ruckel also organized soccer games and tournaments for the employees. For him, sport was never about money; he saw the people behind it, the community. He has always been able to find a connection to the young people, even in the generation that is considered so difficult today.

He is also known as a catcher of men. As someone who listened to the young players and saw more than their facade. "That’s where my christian attitude helps me," he says of his psychological side. The human being stood with him in the center, not the sport. This is also due to his attitude. He got into fubball in the 1960s. "Everybody played, there was nothing else for us. We played soccer for hours, and then we went home to the farm, because we had to help out at home." He grew up with three brothers.

Already in the school and youth teams of TSV geiselwind he had mostly defensive roles. He was considered a strong running fighter, like his former role model "bulle" roth of bayern munchen. As a player he said goodbye to geiselwind in the early 1980s, "on the last day of the changeover period to the last of the C-class". Typical for him. In 1982, he started coaching the newly formed B-youth team in geiselwind. That’s how he got to the men’s teams. For ruckel, twelve stations as a coach were to follow later, from biebelried, abtswind, prichsenstadt, to central and upper franconia. It wasn’t unusual for him to ride his bike to training in order to be fit. At his hometown club, he also stepped in during difficult times, for example as co-trainer for ex-professional alois reinhardt, who had briefly taken over TSV geiselwind in 2009.

At his first coaching station, he was paid 50 marks a month

In addition, he has always coached a youth team in geiselwind over the years. And in 1980, ruckel also started working as a referee in the gerolzhofen group. There are a few stories from his earlier days, and he still maintains one or two friendships with players. "On my first coaching contract i got 50 marks a month. I never got anything at junior level, and I didn’t want to," he says today. Stefan ruckel’s daily routine was not infrequent: early shift, then youth training, then training for the men’s team. With so much soccer, of course the family had to play too. His wife and three children often accompanied him to the games of the clubs he coached. The two sons played themselves, in the youth area often with the father as a coach.

What has changed over the years – in soccer and among the players?? There are still exceptions among the youngsters, but the desire for sports has clearly decreased, says ruckel. "Otherwise it was easier to put a player on the substitutes’ bench. Now you have to kiss their asses to get them to play at all. Parents often have too much to say, and that didn’t used to be the case." It is also trained differently, "more complicated, with lies and so. But many don’t have the basics, the technique".

Whether he will get bored now? Stefan ruckel shakes his head. On the one hand, he helped build his daughter’s house. He has now looked for another, busier field of activity. He has a lot to do on the geiselwind church board, as he says. But you can’t do without fubball either. As a referee he wants to continue in any case. Now and then he will "help out a bit" with the training of the youngest, the G-juniors. You never go all the way. This also applies to someone like stefan ruckel.