Haines Junction goalkeeper Callum Weir has signed to play with Blumenthaler SV in the Bremenliga in Bremen, Germany.
The Bremenliga is one of the leagues in the Oberliga, which is currently the fifth tier of the German football league system.
Weir has been in Bremen for over two weeks and has begun training with his new team and “experiencing the culture here.”
Bremen is a long way away from Haines Junction, and his journey to professional German soccer is one of dedication and making things happen for yourself.
It was a teammate and friend of Weir’s from Victoria, who had played in Germany, that told Weir he should give it a shot.
“I put together a CV (resume) and a highlight tape,” said Weir. “Just a film of me playing and I emailed and WhatsApp-ed a bunch of coaches.”
Weir said he reached out to over 100 German clubs.
“I got a couple of responses and took my chances and popped over here,” said Weir. “My first trial ended up working out really well and now I’m signed here for the year.”
Honing his soccer skills in the Yukon, Weir said he’s really thankful to all the coaches he’s had in the territory. Jake Hanson, he said, helped him push his name.
It was Hanson, Weir said, that helped him get down to Victoria to play with Pacific FC U23 teams.
“Jake, he’s kind of the one who helped me get started,” said Weir.
With that experience under his belt, Weir said it was easier to take that leap of faith to chase the goal of playing overseas.
Weir, 17, has been training with the club for about four weeks.
“The team’s pretty good,” said Weir. “It’s a pretty young group. Most of the guys are under 22 and there’s a couple of late 20s, early 30s guys. There is some experience from the vets but a relatively young group that want to push and make a run for the next step.”
It will be stiff competition in the Blumenthaler net. Weir said he is one of four goalies on the team. Although there is only one net and four keepers, Weir said it’s been a positive experience.
“There’s four of us and it’s good competition for sure,” said Weir. “But the great thing about being a goalkeeper is you kind of have a union. We all stick up for each other and vouch for each other.
“We are always competing but we’re always having fun doing it, we’re always pushing each other to get better.”
This attitude between the four goalies is a “healthy thing,” said Weir.
“We’re fighting for that number one spot to start on the weekend, but if you don’t, it’s not a big deal,” said Weir. “You have that next week to build and everyone wants to get better, but everyone wants all the guys to get better.”
In his training in Germany, Weir said he’s been thankful for all the practice he’s done in the Yukon, especially since he’s trained against older players.
“I got lucky that my older brother is two years older and I would play with his team,” said Weir. “The players you kind of get used to it. Then I was playing Selects since I was 13 and you get used to it. But, there is always that one player that you don’t want shooting the ball at you.”
His new team doesn’t have a goalie coach, but he said he and his new teammates continue to push each other.
“A lot of clubs at this level don’t have a goalkeeper coach, but there is the four of us,” said Weir. “The big thing with goalkeeping is it’s a lot of just repetition, repetition, getting the technique down, that kind of thing.”
Weir is also adjusting to the different styles of play in Europe compared to North America.
“It’s definitely a lot different of a game in Europe,” said Weir. “It’s slower-paced, but it is very technical.”
Weir hasn’t got his license to play from FIFA yet so hasn’t been able to play in a match yet, but he said watching the players in-game action is something to see.
“I’m sitting on the bench and I’m watching and I’m like, these players don’t look like the same players in training,” said Weir. “They’re good in training but here, they are so much better in the games.”
While playing in Germany, Weir said he’s going to represent the Yukon the best he can, and is incredibly thankful for the community.
“It starts with my family, I’m very lucky and my parents are extremely supportive,” said Weir. “Then the community in the Yukon is extremely supportive.”
Weir said he’s beginning to learn some German phrases. The next time he’s in Whitehorse, he said he fully expects that he’ll be talking to his team with the new German he’s learned.
Contact John Tonin at email@example.com