Professionals | 23/04/2018

Portrait of a Footballer

Jonas Hector: The road less traveled

Jonas Hector will wear the 1. FC Köln kit in the 2018/19 season. fc.de takes a look back at the unique career of the German international.

Un mer jon met dir, wenn et sin muss durch et Füer. Translation: And we will go with you, if we have to through the fire. Jonas Hector will be going through the fire. The 27-year-old German international signed a contract extension with 1. FC Köln that will keep him at the club until 2023. It is an unexpected decision for many, but not quite as surprising when taking a look back at the career of Hector.

Youngsters that want to make it to the professional level these days will almost always move their way up the youth ranks of prominent clubs. Scouts have their eyes set on the brightest talents at an early age. Professional debuts are made in the teenage years. However, in the case of Jonas Hector, none of these so-called “norms” apply. The reserved kid from the West-German Saarland region considered football more of a hobby. He was never part of a top academy and played in the Oberliga (fifth division) until he was 19 years of age.


Jonas Hector makes his professional debut for 1. FC Köln in the DFB-Pokal against SpVgg Unterhaching.

Jonas Hector was born in May 1990 in Saarbrücken and grew up near the French border in Auersmacher. It was in this town of just 2,600 people that Hector began his football career at the age of three. “I would rather pick flowers on the field than play football,” says Hector when looking back at his older days. This would soon change as little Jonas follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Lucas, at SV Auersmacher, where his father is a coach and his mother works as a volunteer. Soon he would receive call-ups to the Saarland selection teams and achieve promotion into the fifth division with his club.

Interest from other clubs would soon follow. VfL Bochum were first to invite him to a trial, but Hector decided against it. “I was not convinced to make such a life-altering move,” says Hector. He would rather play with his friends in his hometown, but trial offers began flooding in from TSG Hoffenheim, SC Freiburg, and FC Bayern Munich. In July 2010 Hector finally decides to take the jump, as the then-20-year-old transfers to the 1. FC Köln second team. It was here that Hector would go on to play in 63 matches for the FC amateurs, scoring five goals in the process.

 
Jonas Hector scores the winning penalty against Italy at UEFA Euro 2016.

After two years in the U21 team, Hector makes the jump to the First team under the guidance of then-head coach Holger Stanislawski. The professional debut would come in a 2-1 victory over SpVgg Unterhaching. It was Stanislawski that moved Hector from central midfield to the left-back role – a role in which Hector would go on to thrive. The lefty went on to cement his place on the left side of defense and played his part in promotion to the Bundesliga under head coach Peter Stöger.

Hector’s rapid ascent would continue in the top tier of German football. It did not take long until German national coach Joachim Löw would call up Hector for his first international match. Since then, Hector has appeared in 36 competitive appearances for Germany and achieved milestones such as the winning penalty against Italy at UEFA Euro 2016 and the winning of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017.


Jonas Hector scores the opening goal against 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the deciding match that secured qualification for the UEFA Europa League for the 2017/18 season.

At club level Hector was equally impressive. The culmination came in the last match of the 2016/17 season as FC played with Europa League qualification on the line. Jonas Hector opened the scoring in a famous 2-0 win against Mainz that secured international football for 1. FC Köln for the first time in 25 years. Although Hector was unlucky in the current season due to an injury that kept him out of action for four months, since his return he has often captained the team on the pitch. Although Bundesliga survival looks difficult, Hector is committed to the club on a long-term basis, even if that means second division. It is just another surprising move in a footballer that values loyalty and has no trouble in taking the road less traveled by. 

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