Rico Strieder went through the youth of FC Bayern Munich and made a competitive game for the pros in 2015 before spending seven years in the Netherlands. The 30-year-old midfielder is currently looking for a club – and used the time for an extensive interview SPOX and GOALS.
Strieder talks about his relationship of trust with coach Erik ten Hag, sock battles in the Bayern cabin, failures of his former clubs and his psychology studies.
Mr. Strieder, you have been without a club since leaving PEC Zwolle at the end of last season. What is your everyday life like?
Rico Strieder: I am currently at home in Munich with my wife and family. I keep fit according to an individual training plan and am motivated for a new sporting challenge. I am also pursuing my psychology studies. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be done in two years. For the next two to three years, however, I would like to focus on my next club and then combine my experience as a professional soccer player with my psychology degree.
How is the club search going?
Strieder: There have already been a few inquiries from abroad. But nothing that completely convinced me. After seven years in Holland I would like to return to Germany. My wife recently graduated from dentistry and could start working now. You have to think twice about going abroad again. This must be taken into account in our consideration. However, an interesting adventure abroad that also offers a cultural appeal could also be an exciting project.
Would a return to the FC Bayern reserve be an option?
Strieder: I could well imagine playing for the reserves again and helping the young players there. In my time, we had two experienced players in the team, Stefan Buck and Tobi Schweinsteiger, from whom I learned a lot. I thought that was cool.
Rico Strieder: His previous career stations
2011 to 2015
Bayern Munich II
2015 to 2020
2020 to 2022
Back to your psychology studies: how did you come up with the idea of establishing a second mainstay?
Strieder: It quickly became clear that I wouldn’t have made enough after my active career. And even if I did, I couldn’t imagine not doing anything after that. As a footballer, you have a relatively large amount of time and can pursue your studies or an apprenticeship without any time pressure.
Have you been encouraged by one of your clubs to continue your education on the side?
Strieder: No, neither in Bavaria nor in Holland. In my time at Bayern, it wasn’t particularly important that everyone graduate from school. Anyone who wanted to cancel could do so without any objection. I finished school more because of pressure from my parents. In the reserve there was an information event about possible career paths outside of football. In my opinion, the clubs should offer a lot more in this regard.
What are your plans for studying psychology?
Strieder: My dream is to work as a sports psychologist. I find that exciting. In the course of my career I have often found that the head is more important than the talent. Sometimes I felt tired in my head even though my legs were still fit. Then the simplest things didn’t work. If you change something in your head in a situation like this, you get new strength.
Did you have access to sports psychologists at your previous clubs?
Strieder: At Bayern there was no such thing in the youth, only irregularly with the professionals. In Utrecht we had a sports psychologist who was on site several times a week. He gave lectures to the whole team. After that, everyone was allowed to make individual appointments with him. I liked that, but most of my colleagues didn’t. It’s a problem in football that working with a psychologist is often seen as an admission of weakness.
How did your psychology degree help you?
Strieder: Thanks to the knowledge I have acquired, I remain calmer in difficult situations. Of course, that also helps in the current situation.
What support is available for professionals whose contracts are expiring?
Strieder: When your contract in Holland expires, you get a third of your last salary multiplied by the number of years you played at your last club as a bridging allowance. Another advantage for me was that my wife and I could stay with our families at short notice.
Did you still find football posters on the wall in your old room?
Strieder: A few years ago something was changed and everyone was removed. But I found autograph cards from Giovane Elber and Carsten Jancker – that’s quite a journey through time.
To what extent does your advisor support you in your current situation?
Strieder: He is currently primarily focused on looking for a club. Of course, the agency behind it also offers other services. Some players let their advisors do most of the work for them, but I like being on top of things and in control. I prefer to take care of things like health insurance or bank accounts myself.
When did you have your first consultant?
Strieder: When I was 16, Roman Grill called me and asked if I already had a consultant or if he could advise me. I told my coach at the time and he advised me to do it.