Under the leadership of figures such as Jurgen Kilnsmann and Joachim Loew, the DFB (Germany’s national soccer organization) underwent a major reconstruction project starting in 2002. The DFB began focusing heavily on youth development, primarily by creating a standardized national network of youth academies. All youth coaches must receive a license from the DFB, and professional scouts frequently attend youth soccer matches to identify prospects for the club levels.
Between 2002 and 2010, professional clubs in Germany nearly doubled their spending on youth development. As demonstrated by the success of the national team, the investment has clearly paid dividends. The German team appears poised for many more years of success, due in large part to young players such as Thomas Muller, Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, and Toni Kroos.