News and Announcements


Take a listen to Talentprojekt founder, Mark Dillon, chat with host Brendan Griffiths of In the Eleven podcast about developing whispering talent; the importance of teaching youth soccer players professional habits and cultural agility; and what the Talentprojekt looks for in a candidate.

We invite interested players for our January 2021 program as well as Fall 2021 program to contact us at


Mark Dillon reflects on the Eagle’s 2-0 loss in their first league game while considering the challenges that preceded the launch of the Talentprojekt’s Gap Year program, and both experiences share the gritty spirit and drive he and his players demonstrated in wanting something badly.

With the dedication of players and their families who closely and patiently waited out the uncertainties of school reopenings as well as a return to play in the U.S, the Talentprojekt launched operations in Ochtrup, Germany under the wire to make this first league game. With only five of their 13 man roster cleared to play by the German Federation, and joined alongside the seven existing German players in the SV Borussia Emsdetten U19 team, the players bravely took on the first place team. Mark adds, ‘there’s going to be a transition period for the boys to gel with one another as well as their German counterparts, but we’ve vetted American players who have adaptable characters, and understand that becoming a professional soccer player requires them to behave professionally as soon as they agree to be part of the Talentprojekt.”

Two weeks since arriving Ochtrup, the quaint town about a 45 minute drive from Munster, the mixed age cohort is attending online courses through their U.S. schools or attending in person classes at the International School Twente, with all players immersed in German language courses. They are settled into their newly finished boarding house with a caring and attentive staff, and enjoying training at SV Borussia Emsdetten’s home club while also receiving top of the line high tech training at Sportwerk. The boys have quickly bonded though hailing from seven different states, and since passing required Covid testing they are enjoying all the local flavor Ochtrup has to offer.

Though the Gap Year program is designed to last three month, it will roll over into the abridged full year program for current 2004 and 2005 players. A second boarding house next door to the existing one will be finished early December and ready to receive the next 18 man roster. Mark is keenly aware that these unusual times present challenges that once didn’t exist; but he feels that this is an opportunity for those qualities of proactivity, creativity and grit that he looks for in his candidates will shine within his organization and carry the current cohort to a successful gap year experience, and pave the way for the incoming January cohorts.

For more information about the Talentprojekt go to Check out our Instagram and Facebook, too. Very few spots are available for our January cohorts that include 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 born players. We are seeking candidates for our 2006 cohort due to commence August 2021.


The Talentprojekt U19 team have settled into their new home in Ochtrup, Germany. The 13 player delegation from across seven U.S. states received a warm airport reception from SV Borussia Emsdetten and Koenige und Grafen Sportwerk, its partners in this Gap Year program.

With corona virus still a global concern, the American Eagles are undergoing strict testing and quarantine protocol. Sheltering in place in their new, beautifully and solidly built “sporthaus” that feels like a home away from home, the Talentprojekt players are enjoying comfortable and adequate sleeping accommodations, a light filled dining room that also serves as a meeting area, and a modernly designed and furnished kitchen where boys are preparing light meals and snacks throughout the day. Under the guidance of a dedicated house manager, the boys are chaperoned and guided in creating a living environment that is respectful to the house rules. Players continuing their studies online are encouraged to use good time management skills to fulfill their individual requirements. As is the policy and philosophy of the Talentprojekt, academic education is a vital component to the overall success of its participants now and in the future.

As a final covid testing day approaches, the anticipation to join Borussia Emsdetten on the pitch heightens. Stay updated of Talentprojekt’s U19 journey of playing in Germany by following us on Facebook and Instagram.


In true Eagles fashion, the TalentProjekt gap year cohort has squeezed within narrow border margins with permission to start its U-19 program in Germany effective immediately. Repeated Covid delays pushed the program launch past its anticipated August start date as other youth soccer activity throughout the U.S. have remained uncertain. With assistance from colleagues at Sportwerk Ochtrup, and the cooperation of SV Borussia Emsdetten, special exemption was given to the TalentProjekt. Through relieved breath, Executive Director Mark Dillon comments “We file this under pulling a rabbit out of our hats. We had already made plans for the launch delay, but thanks to some outstanding work by our colleagues in Germany we can not only start, but we’re able to hit the ground running.” With sleeves rolled up and all hands on deck, the Talentprojekt buckles down to deliver to its players a meaningful soccer experience.

Talentprojekt will form the SV Borussia Emsdetten U-19 team and train in Sportwerk Ochtrup’s world class, state-of-the art training facility with access to the SpeedCourt and Soccerbot360. These innovative tools along with a team of dedicated coaches, fitness trainers, and physiotherapists and osteopaths will form the foundation that gap year players will experience for their semester or year abroad. The team will compete in the State League, as well as various State and National Cup competitions, while also playing in organized training matches against Bundesliga Academy teams and top European Clubs. The core of the team are players born in 2002 and 2003.


The Talentprojekt and Sportwerk Ochtrup have teamed up with partner club Borussia Emsdetten to offer a special opportunity for recent high school graduates to play soccer at an elite level in Germany this Fall. This program is open to talented soccer players, interested in taking a gap semester or year to train in a world-class, state of the art facility, and play in one of the best soccer leagues in Germany. Players will compete, as a team, in the German Youth League, as well as compete in organized training matches against Bundesliga Academy teams and top European Clubs. Our team of coaches, fitness trainers, sports scientists, physiotherapists and osteopaths will accompany you on your way to becoming a professional soccer player.

Who: Recent high-school graduates interested in an opportunity to play soccer at an elite level in Europe
Dates: 28 August 2020 – 20 December 2020
Location: Sportwerk Ochtrup, Germany

Sportwerk Ochtrup is one of the leading training facilities in the world and is the training ground for The Talentprojekt players. Sportwerk Ochtrup is home to the Soccerbot360 and SpeedCourt, along with other high-tech training tools.
The Soccerbot360 is one of the most innovative training tools in the works. The computer-controlled Soccerbot360 tests and trains a player’s cognitive and decision making skills by simulating live-game scenarios and testing reaction time and responses.
The SpeedCourt is a patented, two-dimensional, multi-functional diagnostic and training system offering a state of the art method to regularly train player’s speed and agility.

Included in the Program:
Room and Board in the dedicated TalentprojektHaus near Sportwerk Ochtrup
Meals and snacks focused on proper nutrition for developing athletes
Daily soccer and fitness training (min 5 sessions per week)
Performance Diagnostics
Training and game equipment
German Language Classes
Travel Visa

Please review the attached flyer for more information or contact

The document Talentprojekt_Fall_Program_Flyer_2020.pdf was attached to this post.