In 1995, ISD teachers Barry O’Farrell and Jens Heun capitalised on the German fervour for clubs and soccer, by founding the ISD Sportverein (ISD SV). Since this undertaking, the ISD SV has morphed into a sports club with over 700 athletes representing not only soccer but also basketball, volleyball, rugby, and swimming. This involvement has fostered a real love for sports and teams and is an integral part of the ISD school community.
The ISD SV provides ISD students an opportunity to compete alongside local German students. Additionally, some local Rheinlander’s have joined the ISD SV as members. Approximately 85-90% of the student-athletes for the ISD SV are from ISD, the other 15% attend local schools in the greater Düsseldorf area. ISD SV’s seasons intertwine with both NECIS and ISST yearly schedules, allowing for plenty of quality competition. Practices occur twice a week and student-athletes compete in an average of 20-24 club games, typically on weekends. Clint Olson, ISD’s U-18 Varsity basketball coach remarks, “The ISD SV offers the chance for year-long team and individual development against local opposition. It is also a great way to experience the culture and language of the country. Playing in ISD SV competitions gives ISD athletes an advantage in preparing for NECIS competitions because of the extended time the team spends together prior to NECIS finals.”
Overwhelmingly, the ISD community benefits from the social and competitive opportunities that the ISD SV offers. Challenges do exist; it can be especially difficult to find coaches with the time to dedicate to their club team over the 8-9 months. It can be difficult for students as well, particularly those who are beginning the IB Diploma Programme. Georgia, a former varsity soccer player provides her perspective, “Soccer is a year-round sport at ISD. There are competitions for the ISD SV, ISST, and NECIS. Given how long our season is, in addition to schoolwork, it is a challenge to stay motivated and remain committed to the team.”
Despite these challenges, we strive to create a great place for student-athletes globally, and locally, at ISD. We strongly believe that ISD student-athletes learn social empathic skills, in an organic way, while participating in competitive sports. ISD’s strong coaches help with this learning as well. Obstacles are continually overcome and the ISD Sports and Activities programme is dedicated to overcoming the challenges that arise, while staying true to our commitment to providing student-athletes an authentic and meaningful competitive environment.
— James Cochran-Director of Sports and Activities-International School of Düsseldorf
James Cochran, is in his third year working as the Director of Sports and Activities at ISD. Before coming to ISD, he spent time working in Kuwait as a teacher and Assistant Principal. James also played professional basketball in three different countries (Australia, Kuwait and Luxembourg). He is a strong advocate for the character and leadership opportunities given to students through sport and being on teams.