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"From North Carolina State University to Bayern Munich"

This week Atlantic Scholarships caught up with past North Carolina State University student / athlete Maximilian Lüftl. Maximilian graduated from NC State in 2018 with a in Sports Management. Having returned home to Germany after graduation Max accepted a job with FC Bayern Munich as a scout in the Bundesliga before moving on to Saint Pauli FC in the Bundesliga 2. Hear Max's story below:

Firstly, give us an idea of your career starting off in Germany?

For me I started playing football at the age of five. I played with my hometown club until I was fifteen years old. Back then it was about enjoying the little moments with my friends, winning together and losing together. I was more motivated and driven then my friends to pursue a career in football. I wanted to be a professional. I moved from home to join a professional clubs academy at the age of sixteen. My dream was now as strong as ever. Become a professional!

My parents always focused on academics. That was their idea for me to become successful. Study first, football second. So while playing I also completed my high-school diploma. Many of my teammates at the time were extremely naive. Academics were put to the side and football was all that mattered. I would've followed the same path only for my parents advise.

You moved to America to take up a scholarship with NC State men's soccer. How did that move come about?

It was something that I had thought about for quite some time. I was playing in the Regionalliga South (4th division) at nineteen years of age. I was also studying a in sports management. After two years of studying in Germany I thought it was time for a change. I wanted to move to an environment where I could combine academics and football. Really and truly the only place to do that was the USA. The level of play is competitive and the degree that I would acquire is priceless.

I proceeded on the idea after signing up to a scholarship company. I would advise anyone thinking about making the move to use a professional service because there is so much difficulties throughout the process of finding the dream college for you. Recruitment to these colleges is voracious, universities have the resources to track talent from all over the world. So, to be offered a scholarship to an ACC team was something I was advised not to turn down.

To be honest I knew very little about NC State. My company told me that it was the right move for me. I decided to declare for the college and I was soon on a plane not knowing what to expect once the wheels touched down in Raleigh.

There were so many questions going through my head.

What will my lifestyle be like?

How will I adapt to a new language?

What will the level of play really be like?

That's why it is so important to have the backing of a company that can ease your tensions and guide you through some tough decisions.

Talk to us a little bit about your experience as a DI athlete at NC State?

It was fantastic. Best experience of my life to date definitely. When I first arrived I was very apprehensive. My english wasn't very good and I knew this would be an issue initially. However, with time it became better and better. I knew that if I could stick this out, learn a new language and obtain my degree then I didn't need to ever fear any challenge thrown at me again.

NC State's facilities are second to none. From the stadium to the practice fields to the medical room, everything is of the standard of a professional team that is playing at the highest level. There are some of the best athletes in the world in their age categories using these facilities day in and day out so it gave me the opportunity to grow as a person in such a great environment. I enjoyed being surrounded by young ambitious people not just teammates but also nutritionists, physiotherapists, doctors, strength & conditioning coaches and much, much more.

The days are quite hectic. You practice early morning, shower, grab something to eat and then head straight to class. After a day of class you could find yourself in the library until the early hours of the morning. Time management is key especially during season when you are playing two games per week.

During season sometimes you can spend a number of days on the road. The culture within the lockeroom in my opinion determines how a teams future looks. We were very close as a group and it helped us through some tough times with injuries to the team and set backs.

Since graduation how has life been?

It's been brilliant. I graduated in the summer of 2018 and returned to Germany. I received a lot of interest from companies and football clubs throughout Germany. I have been a Bayern Munich fan my whole life and an opportunity to take up a position as a youth scout within the club couldn't be turned down. My dream had come true.

Pictured: Miroslav Klose and Max

At Bayern I was learning every single day. I was lucky to be working with some of the biggest and brightest names in football history. You learn about the little details within football that make all the difference. There is a feeling of privilege driving into the FC Bayern campus everyday. We had a lot of American players within the club most of which had been part of American academies before being scouted to join us. Bayern allowed me to continue my studies during my time there so I enrolled to complete my MBA in business and sport management. Bayern were fantastic to me and it will forever be my club.

Today, I work for St. Pauli FC in the Bundesliga 2. This came about after receiving a call from the clubs head scout. I was offered a role with the first team and accepted. I am still studying for my MBA and NC State has helped me as I mentioned previously because I can manage my time efficiently with both. St Pauli is another club stepped in the history of German football. I advise anyone reading this to research online about the clubs uniqueness and calibre. Our aim is to be playing in the top tier of German football and it is my job to find the players that will help us reach that goal.

What advice would you give to any young athlete looking to make the move to America?

For me this was the best decision I could've made with my future in mind. For me I will always have my degree in my pocket. The fact that it is from an American institution the size of NC State has opened up doors that I didn't believe would be in sight five years ago. If I didn't decide to join a professional company that helps with the process of acquiring a scholarship I'm not sure I would be involved to the capacity that I am the professional game of football today.

If you do land a dream scholarship or offer to a institution all I can say is this:

Your actions that you decide to take, will dictate where your path will lead you.



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