Last weekend, franz xaver hetterich played his first game in the handball regional league. At least for his home club, the TV marktsteft. Finally, some will have thought there. The 22-year-old back, who played in the bundesliga with the youth team of HC erlangen and later also played in the top flight for TSV rodelsee, has just returned from a six-month internship in the USA.
They couldn’t do much with his favorite sport there. "The amis don’t know handball. I’ve never seen anyone play handball," says hetterich. Down there in anderson (south carolina), two hours by car from atlanta, in the deep south of the states, american football is the absolute number one sport. Clemson university is not far away, a university that is considered a hotbed of talent for football and that won the coveted u.S. College football title last year.
In the 82,000-seat stadium at clemson university, hetterich has also watched some of the games in recent months and got a taste of a different atmosphere. "It’s a completely different atmosphere. The people all come hours before with their pick-ups, they set up their grills and tvs. First you meet, then you go to the game." exactly to the then beginning season he had arrived.
As an intern at bosch, franz xaver hetterich was given the opportunity to spend a semester in the south of the usa. Together with 30 others, he lived in the company’s shared flats. "It was a lot of fun, the work and all the experiences i had there. I can only recommend that to everyone," says the economics student.
Hetterich missed the entire preliminary round of the landesliga promoted team. But now he’s back, maybe in time to help keep the league going. The 22-year-old kept fit in the u.S., with plenty of sports on offer. Handball is not. "I can throw the football pretty well now," he says, laughing.
A few thousand kilometers away, he was rooting for marktstef’s games to be played. His mother kept him up to date during the games on the internet with a live ticker. "Of course it was a pity that i couldn’t play there. But you don’t always get a chance to do an internship like this," he says. Whether marktsteft had scored more points with him in the preliminary round? He doesn’t believe it. "One person alone doesn’t rub out the trees in handball."
He had one training session after his return, and then it was straight into full training. At his first appearance in forchheim, franz xaver hetterich scored four goals, so he hasn’t forgotten how to do it. "Catching and throwing is something you can do. But the situations close to the game, when you have to make decisions, that’s not so easy," he says about his comeback.
That gave hetterich a lot of fun, even if his team made too many miscues and only picked up one point at the rival in the relegation battle. He is confident and full of motivation for the rest of the round. "I have confidence in us. The other teams are not so far away."It’s four points to SV auerbach, the next opponent, in tenth place.
This sunday, the team will play at home against table-toppers lauf/heroldsberg – and hetterich, who played in erlangen’s youth league for a year but didn’t stay there, says there’s something to be gained here, too. Bundesliga or professional, that was also a dream for him as a child. The reality turned out not to be so easy, even if he made it far. "The auand is already enormous. You have to invest a lot and get little return."
Now hetterich is happy to be back in marktsteft. There remaining in the national league is one of its goals. And then he has to finish his studies in summer. So there is a lot for him to do.