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Welcome to the Leesburg Knappen, where talent is forged! The Leesburg Knappen are a group of talented youth working together as a group towards player development.  Although our beginnings date back to a specific '07 and subsequent '06 youth team at a nearby club in May 2017 (U11 at the time), and after a merger with other youth teams at the same club, Leesburg Knappen became separate as it is currently known, doing away with any affiliation with a club or league.  There will be special announcements in December 2019 with new exciting details as to our mission in the Northern Virginia area


We are an Official Youth Development Partner of FC Schalke 04 through Global Image Sports.  Through our relationship we integrate the philosophies of FC Schalke 04 into our philosophies and methodologies through leadership and coaches who all support the same goal.  Our new to-be-announced Director will have impressive credentials and will oversee the new program, leading our coaches and players in implementing an elite-level development experience for players in the entire Northern Virginia area with something new everyone desires. 


We take our role representing Schalke to the Washington DC area seriously - we proudly extend many opportunities related to FC Schalke 04 to our greater soccer community including tournaments, Schalke Player ID camps and other events that are run by coaches from the German FC Schalke 04 Knappenschmiede Youth Academy.  Outside of our Youth Development Academy, we also are an Official FC Schalke 04 Supporters Club promoting Schalke relations and events in the Northern Virginia / Washington DC area.


FC Schalke 04 is a professional football club based in Gelsenkirchen, Germany that competes in top tier of German football, The Bundesliga. Founded in 1904, the club’s nickname is “Die Knappen” which stems from the old German word for miners. FC Schalke 04 has won 7 German Championships, 5 DFB-Pokals, 1 DFL-Supercup, and 1 UEFA Cup. In the 2017-18 season Schalke finished 2nd in the Bundesliga to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Schalke’s famous youth academy, known as “Knappenschmiede,” is widely regarded as one of the best developmental programs in the world, with graduates such as US National team star Weston McKennie as well as a plethora of stars across Europe such as Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler, Manuel Neuer, and Leroy Sané to name a few. Other Americans currently as FC Schalke 04 include Haji Wright, Nick Taitague and Zyen Jones. With youth development being a key focus for Schalke, the GIS partnership provides a targeted platform for scouting and developing promising talent. The partnership will also include knowledge-sharing, coaching education resources, youth clinics run by Schalke Academy coaches, and opportunities for US players to travel to Germany to train with Schalke at the legendary Schalke Academy.

Schalke: Region of Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr valley area of Western Germany, a historical coal mining and industrial area.


  • FC Schalke 04: A famous German First Division Bundesliga soccer team formed in 1904 which at that time was made up mostly of young boys, many of who worked in the coal mines in the area. Schalke earns the credit for bringing the sport to the common working-class people.
  • Knappen: Historical term used for miners in the Ruhr area of Germany, who often were youth/young men, ”boys” or ”lads”, many of them immigrants.
  • Schmiede: Forge or smith.
  • Knappenschmiede: “Where miners/young men are forged/developed”, in the context of the Schalke youth program. It is the name of their youth academy.




REGISTER FOR EVALS OR MORE INFO (selections made by invite and coach references)


Leesburg Knappen

673 Potomac Station Drive #604

Leesburg, VA 20176  USA