Domenico Tedesco is an Italian-born and German-raised individual who is currently 31 years of age. Unlike most football managers, he played football but not in the major leagues. He started his journey as a coach back in 2008, after studying business engineering in college. He went on to become an assistant coach for the U8 (!) team in Stuttgart. In 2013, he moved on to be an assistant for the U17 team before he was made its manager. During his time there, he had multiple successes with his team in terms of winning and scoring many goals.
Working under Julian Nagelsmann
It was at 1899 Hoffenheim, working under Nagelsmann that Tedesco would get the right mentorship for his career as a football club manager. Nagelsmann was also young, 29 years old, and became Tedesco’s mentor. It was thanks to this stint coaching Hoffenheim’s U19s that Tedesco was able to become the manager he is today.
Nagelsmann’s style of coaching was what Tedesco needed to move up the ladder and get the right recognition as a manager. Their rapport was great as they worked in unison to register more successes and receive awards at Hoffenheim. Although it was only 20 games, Tedesco took a share of the contributions from that success: “We are both young, we are both from Hoffenheim, and both went through the same coaching course. I like Julian a lot. And everything’s just fine.”
Coach at FC Erzgebirge Aue
After the stint at Hoffenheim, Tedesco had what he needed to break out as a coach on his own. He started his career heading a team without being under Nagelsmann. From his experience working with the successful young coach, he was inspired and learnt a lot from him, which was enough going forward. He saw an opportunity in coaching FC Erzgebirge Aue at the Bundesliga 2. Aue was facing relegation and there were only 11 games left for them to play in the season. At the time, Helge Leonhardt, Aue’s president, had faith in Tedesco and took a risk with him. He thought that the young manager would replicate the same success as that of his mentor, Nagelsmann, to save them from relegation. It turned out to be true in the end.
His former players are well aware of his really good sense of humour due to many hilarious moments he created during his stay. They are also aware that this sense of humour comes with a great belief in education and discipline. As Tedesco himself declared, discipline is very important and small things like saying “hello” or “thank you” can change a lot in the mentality of the team.
Tedesco saw this as an opportunity to showcase his style of coaching and took the job on March 8th, 2017. It was his moment and he took it with much honour. Since he had a huge task ahead of him, with little time, it was the moment to act fast. He brought in fresh strategies and tactics to the team that he thought would get the job done. He borrowed them from the experience he had at his former club Hoffenheim. His level of profiling the opponent’s team is exceptional.
On top of that, he instils confidence in his players by allowing them to play the way they want and then adding some few tactics to harness their skills. He explains: “As a matter of principle, I would like to be able to exhale a goal with my teams as soon as possible and to try to think vertically with the ball, but the focus should be on the ball to quickly recapture it.”
Coming to Aue on a short notice would turn out to be the best thing for the young manager. His success to save Aue from relegation, scooping 20 points in 11 games and being able to successfully manage a drowning team within just 3 months was amazing. He was the new kid in town and that is how Schalke took notice of his unique coaching skills.
His current position as FC Schalke 04 manager
It was time for Tedesco to head to the big league. At only 31 years of age, most people would not expect him to manage a football club, let alone a top tier team like the FC Schalke 04. However, he was recently picked for that role after the club fired their previous manager, Markus Weinzierl, for poor performance at the club. Tedesco was brought in to Schalke early June 2017 from Aue for a 2-year deal to help uplift the club to their former glory. The young manager won many hearts due to his charisma, rapport with the players and the style of play he brought. He saved Aue from relegation in the Bundesliga 2 which he is expected to also do for Schalke.
His unique style of coaching
Tedesco, although having the title of a head coach he has great respect for his players. He is a young coach almost age mates with some of his players, but value what they like. It is for this that he advocates for freedom when it comes to what players want to do on the pitch. Tedesco takes time to understand each player’s style of play before giving his thoughts on the same. He also studies the opponent’s tactics on the pitch so that he can prepare his squad well before the encounter. It is a trick he learnt from his young and successful mentor Julian Nagelsmann when he was at Hoffenheim as an assistant coach.
“If I have to choose between winning 4-3 and 1-0, I’d take 4-0,” Tedesco said about last season.
Schalke’s club board saw this, and because they needed a coach who would add value to the team, Tedesco proved to be the best candidate. After the great showdown at Aue, Schalke thought they needed the same spirit from a coach who has what it takes to uplift a team that is sinking. With his role at the new club, Tedesco will surely bring his charm to the players at the club and empower them to attack and score more this season.
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