Knappenshmiede – Schalke’s Gold Mine of Unearthing German Talent

The mining collieries of Gelsenkirchen may now just be a monument, but the city hasn’t forgotten its mining roots. Schalke 04’s youth academy Knappenshmiede which literally means “Miner’s Forge”  has been unearthing precious footballing talents for years now. Situated in North Rhine-Westphalia, Schalker Knappenshmiede has been one of the major contributors for the golden generation of football in Germany. Established superstars like Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Höwedes, Mesut Ozil along with future prospects like Julian Draxler, Max Meyer, Kaan Ayhan to name a few, have been brought up through the youth ranks of Schalke. The club now boasts one of the best youth academies in Germany and in Europe as well.  Origins: Started out as a development program  in 1991, the academy was formed in 1998 with German Football Association’s vision to promote and develop football from grassroots level. The full fledged youth setup took a long road in achieving the present position. According to its Sporting Director Horst Heldt, the […]