Straelen – When Inka Grings finds out what her club boss has to say about a one-year coaching job with the SV Straelen men’s team, she has to laugh.
The former national soccer player and top scorer in the women’s Bundesliga is on her way to the vet with her dog. “It’s interesting,” says the 41-year-old on the phone. A year ago, the then regional league from North Rhine-Westphalia hired Inka Grings as the new head coach. On April 1, she started her job – as the first woman in Germany to look after a men’s selection from the top four divisions.
The public hype was similar to a few months earlier when the fifth division BV Cloppenburg introduced Imke Wubbenhorst as a trainer. “Women who command men are not exactly the norm in football,” wrote the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” at the beginning of May 2019 and sent a reporter to the small town near Venlo on the lower Lower Rhine near the border with the Netherlands.
Wubbenhorst is no longer in office, her saying “I’m a professional. I put up by tail length “but part of every quotation collection.
Inka Grings could not prevent relegation, but the 96-time international was neither on leave nor resigned. “It’s a lot of fun. The Oberliga is an extreme sporting challenge. I collect experience that makes me mature, “she says to the German Press Agency. “What I admire about her,” says building contractor Hermann Tecklenburg, president of the club and husband of national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, “is the following”. And then the 71-year-old begins to tell and list. And it grants Grings an excellent job reference.
“If we lead 3-0 in the 85th minute, it is still full of energy and commitment on the line and gives instructions,” says Tecklenburg. “If there is a draw shortly before the end, she breaks the defense chain, sends our almost two-meter-tall central defender into the storm and still wants to win. She did it three times this season, three times it worked, “he says.
For FCR 2001 Duisburg Inka Grings scored 353 goals in 271 first division matches. She was the top scorer of the Bundesliga six times. With the DFB team, she won the European Championship twice and was crowned top scorer in both tournaments (2005 and 2009). In 96 international matches, she scored 64 goals.
She also played in Zurich, Chicago and to end her active career with the then second division Cologne. In October she caused a sensation when, for the first time in 20 years, she made an almost perfect series on the goal wall in the ZDF “Sportstudio” and scored five times.
Grings has always been extremely ambitious and not always easy to care for. “I was never the one who shot crossways. Anyone who treated me fairly got an Inca Grings one hundred percent, “she once said. Grings’ comments on the women’s quota (“As important as it is, it is also very sad”), speaks for a woman at the head of the German Football Association, calls for more involvement of the clubs in promoting women’s football, or is also shy not to publicly criticize the performance of the national team at the poor World Cup last summer in France.
Last year she told the The Eastern Herald Newspaper that there is more passion and identification in women’s football than in men. All that counts there is “money, money, money, league, and success, whether it makes sense or not”. And yet she wants to go right there.
Inka Grings has been a trainer since 2014, first in Duisburg, then with the U-17 juniors from Viktoria Koln, now in Straelen. With today’s Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann, she completed her soccer teacher training in 2016. “I’m at the beginning of my coaching career. My motto is to work and develop myself, “she says of the TEH. It has other goals, more ambitious goals than to train a league team.
Should the season interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic continue, it will probably rise again with Straelen? The league leaders of the Oberliga Niederrhein are 19 points ahead of the second 1. FC Monheim. “At the moment I’m fully focused on my job. I am in character so that I do what I am doing at the moment one hundred percent. And then something will surely emerge in due course, “she says confidently.
Whether society, whether the world of football is ripe for a coach in the first or second division of men? For someone like her in this role? “I’m the wrong person to contact,” says Inka Grings. “Other people have to answer that.”