Jürgen Klopp: Childhood & Growing Up
| Early Years |
Jürgen Klopp, the only son of Norbert and Elisabeth Klopp, was born in Stuttgart on the 16th June 1967. Jürgen, along with his two older sisters, Isolde and Stefanie, lived in the Black Forest town of Glatten; roughly 80km from Stuttgart.
His parents were both travelling salesmen, although that is where much of the similarity ended with Jürgen saying his parents were from “different planets”. He trusted his mother to “understand everything, father, not so much”.
His father was a passionate football fan and ex-goalkeeper at a semi-professional level. Klopp recalls his father being the one to drive him forwards from the start:
“I remember him always telling me: ‘iron sharpens iron as man sharpens man’ … he tried to build a fire in me to get better and not to be satisfied too early and things like this.”Jürgen Klopp talking about his father, Norbert.
Upon moving back to Stuttgart, Klopp’s father taught him to ski and to play tennis, but it was clear from the start that both father and son shared a love for football. Jürgen fondly reflects back to a moment around his 7th birthday; West Germany vs. Chile 1974, Paul Breitner scoring the winner for the Germans whilst father and son celebrated at home.
Growing up as a boy, Jürgen was immediately attracted to local side VfB Stuttgart. His love for the club was solidified when his grandmother knitted him a jumper in club colours with young Klopp’s idol of the time; Karlheinz Förster and his number 5 proudly emblazoned on the back.
Klopp would go on to attend a trial with VfB Stuttgart and would receive a red and white Adidas tracksuit. The tracksuit would later be burnt whilst being ironed by Jürgen’s sister and he stills recalls his anger and annoyance at her to this day!
| Learning The Game |
Having started his junior football with SV Glatten and TuS Ergenzingen, Klopp now moved to 1. FC Pforzheim followed by three clubs all based around Frankfurt: Eintracht Frankfurt II, Viktoria Sindlingen and Rot-Weiss Frankfurt.
Although young Jürgen had ambitions of becoming a doctor, he was always aware of his limitations stating he didn’t believe he “was ever smart enough for a medical career.”
“When I left school, the head of our school said: ‘I hope you can do something in football because if not, pfft, I don’t have the best feeling for your future.’ He had a microphone so all 4,000 people could hear it!”Jürgen Klopp reflecting on his schoolboy years.
After leaving school, Klopp began reading Sports Science at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. He continued to pursue a career in football; playing for Eintracht Frankfurt’s non-professional side, but, by this stage, Jürgen wasn’t convinced he would ever become a professional footballer.
The 6’4″ German worked part-time jobs at a local pub and cinema; pouring pints and lifting large, heavy film reels in order to fund his studies.
It was only in the summer of 1990, with Klopp turning 23, that he would finally be offered a full-time professional contract with Mainz 05.