For every up and coming American looking to make a name for himself in Europe like DeAndre Yedlin, there is a Joe Enochs, a player who toils in obscurity while making a name for himself in a lower division European league. The Verein für Leibesübungen von 1899 e.V. Osnabrück, or VfL Osnabrück for the sake of brevity, manager may have been relatively unknown stateside as a player, but he should be on peoples’ minds as a coach for years to come.
In his playing days Enochs was a standout Osnabrück midfielder and played in 359 games over 12 seasons from 1996-2008. After retiring Enochs stayed on with the team coaching their U-23 side and was briefly promoted to interim manager in 2011. Despite not having his top flight coaching licenses, managers can lead teams for up to two weeks without them in Germany, Enochs demonstrated that he had what it takes to lead the first team and was kept on as assistant coach while he earned his credentials.
In 2015 he was again given the reigns of the first team after the team struggled early in the season. The goal that season was to keep the team in 3. Liga and Enochs exceeded expectations and led his side to a 5th place finish in the table.
Recently Enochs was profiled in a piece in the Guardian in which the American discusses promotion and relegation, details his goals, and how politics in the US is having an impact on his players.
Currently, the team is in 3rd place in the 3. Liga table which would qualify it for a playoff against the 2 Bundesliga 16th place team for promotion if the season were to end today. While the manager did not want to discuss his team’s chance at reaching the next tier of the German pyramid, he did comment on the role that promotion and relegation plays in keeping games relevant all season long.
He went on to discuss the role that promotion and relegation plays in maintaining the intensity of games and ensuring that there are consequences for teams that perform badly.
Enochs went on to describe his goals saying, “My goal is to coach at the highest level possible.” The Osnabrück manager is looking to the future but isn’t eager to leave the club and told the Guardian, “I don’t want to put my foot too far out of the door.” His desire to stay may be rooted to the fact that the 45 year-old has established roots in the city. He owns a pub in town and his wife is from Osnabrück.
While the city has welcomed Enochs, the Guardian wrote that he is increasingly concerned about the political situation in the US and that it is impacting the opportunities that his academy players can pursue.
While Bob Bradley failed to live up to expectations in the Premier League, Enochs joins Steve Cherundolo and David Wagner as Americans coaching in Europe with a bright future.