Yanks in Deutschland: Joe Enochs Guides Osnabrück up the Fußball ladder

Americans have been making waves in Germany for a few years, but American coaches have recently been making headlines in football in Europe.
Recently, former US National Team manager Bob Bradley was appointed as the manager of Swansea City in the Premier League. One league lower, former US National and Borussia Dortmund reserves manager David Wagner has guided Huddersfield Town to a Promotion playoff spot over a third of the way through the English Championship season.
However, Joe Enochs has been managing longer in Germany at VfL Osnabrück, yet doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the other two.
Enochs started his playing career in the lower levels of the U.S. soccer system, including four years playing college soccer at Sacramento State University in California. Then in 1994, he moved to Germany and played for the St. Pauli reserves for a season. It was at this point that Enochs moved to VfL Osnabrück, where the midfielder spent the rest of his playing career. Enochs made a club record 359 appearances for the Lily-Whites, scoring ten goals. His strike against Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal was named Goal of the Month by ARD’s Sportschau in September 2004 which can be seen here.
Similar to fellow American Steve Cherundolo at Hannover 96, the Californian clearly became an integral part of the club and community. A children’s section of the West stand of the Osnatel-Arena is named after him and he also owns a bar in Osnabrück
Following the 2007-08 season. Enochs retired as a player and moved into a youth coaching role with the club, where he remained until 2011 when he served as the first team caretaker manager for two matches, which were both draws.
After earning his coaching badges, Enochs was finally given the manager role full time on August 24, 2015. He guided VfL to fifth place in his first season – only 8 points off the promotion playoff spot.
In this current season, Osnabrück currently sit in second place in 3. Liga, just two points behind Duisburg.
Osnabrück’s next match will be on the road against fourth place VfR Aalen, and it will provide an excellent chance to see if the side is capable of a promotion challenge throughout the season.
# Team MP W D L F A G P
1 MSV Duisburg 1 1 0 0 4 1 +3 3
2 Eintracht Braunschweig 1 1 0 0 4 2 +2 3
3 Würzburger Kickers 1 1 0 0 3 1 +2 3
4 Zwickau 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2 3
5 Ingolstadt 04 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
6 Uerdingen 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1 3
7 Viktoria Köln 1 0 1 0 3 3 +0 1
8 Hansa Rostock 1 0 1 0 3 3 +0 1
9 Preußen Münster 1 0 1 0 1 1 +0 1
10 Unterhaching 1 0 1 0 1 1 +0 1
11 Waldhof Mannheim 1 0 1 0 1 1 +0 1
12 1860 München 1 0 1 0 1 1 +0 1
13 Chemnitzer FC 1 0 1 0 1 1 +0 1
14 FC Kaiserslautern 1 0 1 0 1 1 +0 1
15 Carl Zeiss Jena 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0
16 Hallescher FC 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
17 Magdeburg 1 0 0 1 2 4 -2 0
18 Bayern München II 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0
19 SV Meppen 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0
20 Sonnenhof Groß… 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3 0
The key to their season so far has been balance. The side has scored 19 goals in the league so far, sixth highest. But those goals have been spread among 11 different players, so many different individuals are stepping up when they get the opportunity to contribute. And Enochs has been making the correct decisions in crucial moments, as substitutes have scored five of the team’s goals and added two assists.
If Enochs can continue pulling the right strings, it will be very hard for other sides to overtake the Lily-Whites. Should Enochs and the side earn promotion he’d become the first American to manage in either level of the Bundesliga. It would also be the first time Osnabrück has been in the Bundesliga 2 since the 2008/2009 season.
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Andrew Smith

Born in Indiana, Andrew is a 27-year-old Social Studies teacher who has traveled to Germany on multiple occasions. He enjoys learning more of the tactical side of the game and can be followed on Twitter at andsmith_46.

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