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Manfred Burgsmueller - Dreaming of a Touchdown
Stefan Nickel
Article posted on 10/1/2002

After retiring from soccer, a lot of people thought that it was a promotion gag to let Manfred Burgsmueller kick field goals for a pro football team (Rhein Fire of NFL Europe). Manfred played in 447 games in the highest ranked German pro soccer league and kicked 213 goals during his


"My decision to play pro football came deep down from my heart after the Rhein Fire officials asked me to play for them," Manny says. That sport

was not very popular in Germany during that time, but it fascinates me."

Now Manny is famous in both Germany and all of Europe as a kicker. Everything he knows about kicking, he learned from former Kicking Consultant to the World League/NFL Europe, Doug Blevins.

Whenever he had the chance, he flew over to the States in order to work with Doug. This year, Manfred could possibly win his third championship with the Rhein Fire. He won his first championship

in 1998 against the Frankfurt Galaxy and in his second year (2000) against the Scottish


Now the time is coming to retire from football.

Manfred Burgsmueller is 52 years old and became the first Player in

NFL Europe history to score 300 points. He is also the oldest kicker in pro football history.

The father of three daughters, he works 12 hours a day for his success. He has a financial

agency with a friend, and a lot of unsettled work is waiting for him after the season is over. But until that time, he keeps focusing on his kicking for the Fire.

Everybody on his team likes Manny.

"Some of my teammates could be my kids," he says with a smile, but he knows about his special position in the

team, both as a kicker and a team leader.Rhein Fire has reached the finals and Manny will get his chance to win his third title on June 22nd.

"It will be a difficult game against the Berlin Thunder, but we play in our house and the fans will stay behind us. Maybe my dream will come true, to score a touchdown."

Nobody can say whether Manny will ever get his touchdown, or even if he will

retain his roster spot next year. It's not clear if the Rhein Fire will sign another former

successful soccer player again. We will have to wait and see. You need more than

just talent to kick field goals. You also need spirit. But who in Germany is crazy enough to do this job?

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The 'right art' cried the Master, is purposeless, aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is that you have much too willful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.
-- Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery

Doug and Tommy's Frequently Asked Questions: "I can kick a ball 55 yards with the ball with good height, placed on the ground (in field goal position, not a tee). Does that mean anything as to how I could perform with a line in front of me, like a game situation?" -- Click here to read our answer


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