When the Soccer Field Turns Into a Job Interview

10. February 2023

After spending years in the stadium experiencing exhilarating success, former professional soccer players must face a new reality at some point: the post-pitch career. Richard Weil and Nicolas Jüllich have opted for SI. Find out how they have made the transition to everyday office life.

After having successful careers as professional soccer players, many players face the challenge of finding new career paths. Some athletes decide to stay in the industry, working as consultants, coaches or in scouting. Others seek new challenges beyond soccer. For example, former professional athletes Richard Weil (34) and Nicolas Jüllich (32) have transitioned from amateur soccer to working at SI.

Talented and Performance-Driven: SI Recruits Young Talent in Soccer

The sourcing specialist from Mannheim collaborates with the regional soccer clubs VfR Mannheim and SV Waldhof Mannheim to bring talent from the playing field into the business world. The management team at SI has a close connection to the sport and even occasionally plays for VfR. But it’s not just the sport itself that is close to SI’s heart. Promoting youth and social integration play a decisive role in the company’s sponsorship activities. And that’s exactly what VfR also stands for.

Last summer, the company, which currently employs people from more than 20 nations, launched an initiative to help athletes like Richard Weil and Nicolas Jüllich enter the professional world. With his years of experience, trained ambition and a degree, Richard started as a Key Account Manager at SI Electronics in August 2022. “I am very grateful to SI for allowing me to enter such an exciting industry. There’s a lot to learn but have settled well into the job and have been given a lot of support by my co-workers,” he says.

Nicolas initially opted for a three-year apprenticeship as an office management assistant. “My training is quite open-ended. I get a taste of each area and can thus decide over time which one I like best,” he explains. “By putting all my eggs in one basket, namely soccer, over the years, I’ve never had the chance to work in a company. Here I can build something new for myself from scratch.”

While both take their new start in the industry seriously, soccer remains an important part of their lives. During the day, their job is to get to know the business better, look after customers, process orders and understand the market. During three to four evenings per week, their day concludes with training sessions on the soccer field. “In addition, there are the games at the weekend,” Nico adds. For both, this solution is optimal. “When you’ve been in competitive sports for so long, it’s important to get your body used to the fact that it’s now doing something else. That’s why it’s perfect that we continue to have the training and the soccer games as a balance,” Richard explains.

Parallel Careers in Sourcing and on the Sidelines

Richard “Richy” Weil

  • Born on February 6, 1988, in Frankfurt am Main
  • Has played for FC Heidenheim, FC Magdeburg, Würzburger Kickers and VfB Stuttgart, among others
  • Joined VfR Mannheim in July 2022
  • Works as Key Account Manager at SI

Most recently, Richard played for VfB Stuttgart, but decided to return closer to his home roots. “I wanted to head back home. The constant changes in location makes it difficult on family members and friends. Especially when you have your own family, everyone must follow you wherever you go. But at some point, you reach a stage when the wishes of others come first,” the Frankfurt native says. For his own personal development, it was important for Richard to experience how things work in a company. “I needed a completely new task in life and was happy to accept this challenge.”

As acting co-trainer at VfR, he can also imagine expanding on this path. “When I was young, I only had a few experienced players around me who prepared me for the professional sport. That’s why I would like to share my expertise and experience with junior players,” he says. In his new soccer position, he leads the team, organizes the lineup for the next game, and plans new moves and strategies. All in all, it’s a job with a lot of responsibility. “I see myself in it and want to be a good role model for the young players.” But it’s not just in sports that he has plans: ” I want to grow long-term at SI” he adds.

The Right Work-Sport Balance

Nicolas “Nico” Jüllich

  • Born on March 27, 1990 in Heidelberg
  • Has played for SV Waldhof Mannheim, FC Bayern München, and SG Sonnenhof Großaspach among others
  • Joined VfR Mannheim in July 2022
  • Currently working as an office management assistant trainee

For Nico, everything revolved around soccer from the very beginning: “My family lives and breathes the sport. I can’t imagine my life without it.” That’s why he decided early on to pursue a career in it, playing for FC Bayern Munich’s U23 team, among others and was allowed to defend the midfield from Cristiano Ronaldo in Franz Beckenbauer’s farewell game against Real Madrid in 2010. Soccer has been his main occupation, most recently with SG Sonnenhof Großaspach. He switched to amateur sports for VfR Mannheim but made it clear in the first conversation that he wanted to do an apprenticeship on the side. The club agreed and negotiate such an opportunity on behalf of Nico at SI.

“The transition to a 40-hour office job was extremely hard. But after five months, I can say that I’ve adjusted well,” he states. He particularly appreciates the openness of the team and the fact that he can always rely on his co-workers’ support. When it comes to sports, Nico also gets to enjoy certain freedoms that other employers don’t offer: “I was injured for a while last year and had to go to the doctor or physiotherapy more often. That’s where SI really had my back.”

Soccer is and remains very important to Nico. He has not yet made a final decision about what role he would like soccer to play in his life in the future. He says, “I’m keeping another career open for myself besides the sports field. For now, though, I’m concentrating on my training.”