Football scholarship in the USA
If you think competitive sport and studies are incompatible with one another, you’re very much mistaken! Every young footballer dreams of becoming a professional, but only very few actually make it to the top in the end. One person who once found himself in just that predicament is former Eintracht Frankfurt youth player Martin Zaluk, who decided to study in the USA after graduating from secondary school. Nowadays, Zaluk is eager to pass on his experience to the latest generation of youngsters.
Aside from talent, you also need a large slice of luck to make it as a professional these days. You have to be in the right place at the right time and, above all, stay injury-free. Sometimes talent alone is not enough, which puts young footballers in a dilemma: Do they place all their eggs in the football basket after graduation, or should they pursue further studies or an apprenticeship alongside their sporting commitments? Feeling it was too risky to rely solely on his footballing career, Martin Zaluk grasped the opportunity when he was offered a sports scholarship in the USA. This allowed him to study in America while continuing to play competitive sport at a high level.
"Due to the way university sport is structured in Germany, it‘s often difficult to combine higher education and professional sport over here," says Zaluk. In the USA, by contrast, sport is not organised by clubs but in schools and, in particular, at universities. Pupils and students are actively encouraged to engage in sports. There are competitions against other universities from all over America, but always in line with students‘ academic commitments. Academic qualifications and sports go hand in hand. University work is never neglected, and if college athletes have to miss one or two lectures because of an away match, their professors are told in good time. That way, students can catch up on missed classes without any problems.
These days, Zaluk is eager to pass on his experience to young athletes and, in particular, footballers. He has founded his own sports scholarship agency, the ‘MZTA’, which specialises in placing football players in the highest US college leagues. "Our goal is to put players in the highest college divisions possible according to their performance profile, so that they can prove themselves there and develop not just academically but in football terms too," explains Zaluk.
Since the 2014/15 season, the MZTA has been working alongside Eintracht Frankfurt's youth academy and holds regular informative events.