Lower house: 27 years at one club

Lower house: 27 years at one club

In today’s world, years of club loyalty have become an absolute rarity – Schärding footballer Karl Freihaut is the exception personified: In 1997, at the age of eight, he started his football career in the youth team of regional league club SK Schärding – and hasn’t played for any other club since then. “I live just five minutes away from the pitch. I’ve always attached great importance to camaraderie, to feeling comfortable in a team and to playing with my childhood friends,” says Freihaut. After all, the football club is also something like a second family: “The club has to be a good fit, but so do the colleagues, because you spend a lot of time with them. It has to be fun, that’s the only way you can perform on the pitch.”

What remains are not only good friendships, but also memories that Freihaut will never forget: “I joined the first team when I was 15 years old, the derbies against Esternberg or Andorf, which always attracted around 1,000 spectators, were real highlights.”

But one game in particular will remain in his memory – even if the game did not have a happy ending: “In 2012, we suffered the same fate as Schalke: before the last round, we were fourth and played against Gurten. At the same time, the duel between Mondsee and Bad Ischl was taking place. All four teams could have become champions.” And his team already thought they were champions – unfortunately mistakenly: “We won 3:1, the other game was 1:1. Many spectators had already congratulated us on the title, and the live ticker for the second game had also ended. The double liters had already been handed out when it suddenly went very quiet. We were told that the other game was still going on. In the 94th minute, Bad Ischl scored the winning goal and became champions.”

“Will enjoy games”

A defeat that is as much a part of his career in the Schärding jersey as many victories. After this season, however, this era will end – with the local duels like on Saturday in Andorf (1:2) and on Friday against Esternberg. “I will really enjoy these games one more time.” Before he perhaps opens a new, final chapter in the summer after 27 years in a lower league: “Never say never.”

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