“Sorry, this doesn’t happen to me a lot,” insists Almuth Schult, excusing herself as she wipes a tear from her eye. “But it’s just suddenly all becoming very real.”
The Wolfsburg goalkeeper is speaking to reporters at the last press conference before the German Cup final against Turbine Potsdam – not usually the time or place for such outpourings of emotion, but for Schult, after eight years at Wolfsburg, this really is the last time.
The 31-year-old German international helped steer Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title this season and is determined to make it a double before she moves to the newly-formed Angel City FC in Los Angeles this summer.
“We absolutely want to win this cup again,” she says. And she knows how to do it, having already contested seven finals with Wolfsburg and winning each time. The Wolves will be favorites on Saturday as well, having beaten Potsdam comfortably in each of their last four meetings.
Nevertheless, Schult insists that “you can’t just subscribe to cup wins” and that “every final starts at 0-0.”
Seventh heaven: Schult (orange shorts) has already won seven German Cups with Wolfsburg, and is targeting an eighth
Not that life will get any easier after the cup final, with the European championships in England just around the corner (6-31 July) and a family move to the United States to organize.
“I want to make the coach’s decision as difficult as possible,” she says, referring to the current competition between the posts. For years Germany’s number one, maternity leave and a shoulder injury have seen Schult forced to take a back seat behind Merle Frohm, who is also due to succeed her at Wolfsburg.
“We get on well,” says Schult of her relationship with Frohm, suggesting she can live with the role of number two at the Euros, where Germany will face Denmark, Spain and Finland in Group B as they target a place in the final showdown at Wembley.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that this team has a successful tournament – and win the cup.”
Angel City: Hollywood girl power
After a flying visit to the motherland of football, Schult will begin a new chapter in the promised land of the women’s game, the United States, where she has signed an initial one-year deal with Angel City FC.
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) expansion team was only founded in 2020 and is currently competing in its debut season in a league which leaves Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga in the shade when it comes to status and support.
Angel City FC is the brainchild of Hollywood star Natalie Portman, with Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Garner also among a list of high-profile backers, and attracted a 22,000 sell-out for its first game of the season, a 2-1 win over North Carolina Courage, including 16,000 season ticket holders.
“I felt honored when I received the offer,” recounts Schult. “The US league is so well balanced. That means that you have a completely different challenge as a goalkeeper.”
The move also has incentives for the mother of twins off the field, too.
“We’ll possibly have more time to spend together as a family because I’ll have fewer commitments off the pitch,” she explains. “I’m looking forward to this new chapter.”
Translated from German by Matt Ford