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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Thanks to the Air Force: Sinningrin meets old friends again in Australia

WonoMax-Joseph Kronenbiter


Veronika Degenmeier once only wanted to go to Australia for a few weeks. But months turned into years. By chance, she met old friends again – and the Newberg Air Force squadron played a part in this.

Australia is one of the classic diaspora countries. Aside from the family that is left behind, some people also miss out on clubs. Thanks to Air Force exercise “Pitch Black,” two soldiers were able to meet their former teammate on the women’s soccer team, Veronica Degenmayer, in Darwin.

In fact, Sinning’s woman only wanted to go to Australia to learn English for a few weeks. The planned three months turned into three years. And the temporary departure of the right midfielder from her women’s team, the Joschoffen-Bergheim sports association, became final. The indefinite extension was not entirely voluntary. “Corona was coming in early 2020 and I knew that if I went home now, I would not be able to enter Australia again,” recalls Veronica Degenmayer. The decision fell in favor of the Australian sun, sea and her urge for freedom – and thus against friends and family. He and the fact of being completely alone in what was initially a foreign country was not easy for him. “I would have said ‘serve’ differently if I had known it earlier,” admits the 26-year-old. Due to Corona, he had not been able to visit friends or family for years.

Incidentally reunited: Sinningrin reunites with old football friends in Australia

Degenmeier is even more pleased that his former football coach Michael “Butzi” Riel and his teammate Vanessa Werner are now visiting him. “The Air Force makes this possible,” says the soldier, who, as a senior sergeant, looks after the well-being of 240 crew members. Newberg troops from Strategic Air Force Squadron 74 are currently participating in the Royal Australian Air Force’s largest air force exercise along with 16 other nations.

He was still in Germany: photo of a SpVgg Joshofen-Bergheim team showing expatriate Veronica Degenmayer (back, third from left) and coach Michael Riel (far right).

Photo: SpVgg Joschoffen-Bergheim

For four years, Newberg Sargent prepared women for sports in the district class. “It was not a fun group; on the contrary, women are much more willing to learn, accept advice and so can increase their performance levels quickly,” says Riel, who is still the second president of Joshofenners. On the other hand, with men, you usually have eleven coaches on the team who know everything better. How does it work when you’re coaching a women’s team as a man? This is something special because despite all the relaxation you have to maintain a certain distance. “And after warming up, drinking half a glass of Hugo together just before kick-off is something special, which – as measured by results – works well for women,” laughs Riel, who himself is one of Betzenberg’s Reds. Devils have fans (Kaiserslautern).

Veronica Degenmayer meets former teammates of her football team Joschoffen-Bergheim in Australia

There is also Sergeant-Major Vanessa Werner from the Maintenance Squadron in Australia. Your job at Pitch Black is to ensure that minor and major faults in Eurofighter electronics are quickly rectified. Despite various job-related courses, 29-year-old Joshofen has remained loyal to the women, who are currently playing in the Augsburg district class – even though they are no longer coached by Michael Riel. “Butzie knew how to deal with women,” says Vanessa Werner, who likes to remember the knife song after winning a game. Despite the great distance and the rare opportunities to see each other, Werner is still Veronica Degenmayer. is on friendly terms with.

The two women and their ex-trainer use the time more intensively to meet after each shift – Degenmeier is currently working as a nutritionist for dogs – for joint activities in the city of Darwin. And of course there’s always a relaxing training session with kicks at the famous Mindil Beach.

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