Player To Watch in Germany: American Grayson Dettoni
Grayson Dettoni was very excited when he was recruited to play at FC Bayern on the U13 team — this young, talented American youth soccer player dreams of becoming a professional. Here is his journey from first playing at age 4 in Virginia to becoming an expatriate and training at TSV 1860 Munich to being identified by FC Bayern.
Grayson is the youngest American and the first full-blooded American to be asked into the youth ranks at FC Bayern. Other Americans grew up in Germany and are half German and half American.
Grayson Dettoni first started playing soccer when his family lived McLean, Virginia and played for McLean Youth Soccer. From those early days as a soccer loving 4-year-old to now, Dettoni has always been focused on soccer. His passion is visible as he patiently discusses other topics and comes alive with a glow in his eyes when the subject turns to anything soccer related.
Grayson’s goal is to become a professional player in Europe and to be identified by U.S. Soccer to play for the U.S National Team. He says, “I want to achieve the greatest I can, work hard and always do my best. My experience here in Germany is preparing me for this.”
Grayson Dettoni left training at San Diego Surf SC and the sunny shores of Southern California — not speaking a word of German — and joined TSV 1860 Munich when his family moved across the Atlantic to Germany.
It took Dettoni a least a month before he really understood what the soccer coach was saying during training basic drills and about 4 to 6 months to become comfortable speaking and understanding the language.
“Grayson — like many other San Diego players — was athletic, physical, technically good, and a smart decision maker. However, Grayson’s focus and devotion to training has allowed him to flourish and become a successful young player in Europe,” said Ryan Guy, Assistant Director of Coaching – Boy at Surf SC.
When his parents moved to Munich and first inquired at FC Bayern, they were told to join a local club and, “If you son is talented, we will find him.” And, find him they did – Grayson Dettoni is definitely a Player to Watch.
Now, Dettoni practices with FC Bayern youth soccer coach Maximilian Knauer and his U13 team and looks to take his game to the next level. A talented center back, Dettoni is the youngest American youth soccer player training at FC Bayern.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is it like joining FC Bayern Munich?
Grayson Dettoni: It’s unbelievable and a dream come true.
It’s unbelievable to play and be a part of one of the best clubs, if not THE BEST CLUB, in the world.
The level of skill and ability that the players have is amazing.
Becoming a part of a team like this — it makes you play at your best and it makes you work hard to get better.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does FC Bayern differ from other clubs you have trained with — like TSV 1860 Munich?
Grayson Dettoni: Basically everything at Bayern is different than both TSV 1860 and my clubs back in the USA.
First of all, the new FC Bayern Youth Campus that they just opened is out of this world!
Related Youth Soccer News: FC BAYERN’S NEW $81 MILLION YOUTH ACADEMY
The locker rooms, the facilities, the football pitches, the place is like a dream! The training is very different too.
At FC Bayern we do more drills and tactics that are crucial to the game. Since I’m on the U13 squad, we are now on the big field and everything we are doing is completely different.
FC Bayern has their own way of training us for coordination, tactics, and speed. It’s a lot of fun!
The trainers at FC Bayern are different too. I feel like they are truly inspirational. They make me want to do my best and play hard from them.
I know that I’m always supported and I’m allowed to make mistakes and therefore I want to do my best.
Also, another big difference is a number of games and tournaments we attend. The club wants us to play the best teams to make us better players. We travel all over Germany and all over Europe to seek out the best experiences.
Diane Scavuzzo: Reflect on coming from Surf SC to TSV 1860 Munich to FC Bayern — Tell us about your journey. Did you feel prepared for playing in Germany by your training in the USA?
Grayson Dettoni: I spent some good football years growing up at both McLean Youth Soccer in Virgina and San Diego Surf SC in Southern California.
They were both good clubs and I learned the basics of the game there.
But before moving to Germany and trying out for TSV 1860 Munich, I needed a lot of extra speed training and strength training.
At my age, I wasn’t able to get this kind of high-level performance training at my youth soccer club—Only the older kids had the high-level training I needed if I wanted to do well and make a good team in Germany.
I’m very grateful for my football journey that I have had both in the USA and here in Germany.
TSV 1860 Munich was good training ground for me to learn German football.
I learned speed on the pitch and on the ball, how to be highly skillful — and, I learned how to be really aggressive in my play.
Now that I am playing at FC Bayern, I’m excited to learn more from the very best in the business.
I can’t wait to see how my game changes and how I grow and develop as a player.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your future goals? What are your dreams?
Grayson Dettoni: My future goal is that I want to become a professional football player and I would love to play for FC Bayern Munich.
I would love to stay at the club and make a difference both as a player and as a person.
I want to take this opportunity and make the very best of it and become the best I can be. One of my dreams in the future would be that I could use my football talents to make a difference in the world somehow — donating money or helping others in some way. I think that when you are given these talents, you have the opportunity to share them with others who might not be as fortunate.
Diane Scavuzzo: Now a question for your mom, Erin Dettoni — What is the difference between being a football parent in Germany versus a soccer mom in the USA?
Erin Dettoni: Being a football parent in Germany compared to the U.S. is both similar and different.
I do the same driving around to training, driving to tournaments, washing numerous loads of football laundry and interact with our football family friends.
Life here in Germany is filled with football weekends, home and away, similar to what it was like back in San Diego.
But when it comes to the youth players, in the football world that they live in — the parents take a back seat.
We drop them off where they need to be and they are really on their own, extremely independent, and they manage their own football lives.
The trainers text them directly in their chats groups and they are given instructions. The trainers will text the parents separately with other information that might be important but there is an expectation that the boys will be self-sufficient, mature and dependable.
We are hands off!
There is no discussing with the coach about the particulars of a game, why our son was played or not played. We take everything in stride and we DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS. It’s very refreshing.
You learn that your son is in good hands and is learning under the best trainers possible.
You learn that you must trust them and try to understand that your son will become a great football player even when we step aside.
Mostly, you begin to understand that if this high-level football life is truly something that your son loves and is passionate about, it will come naturally and he will pursue it himself —without parents prodding or over-involvement.
This is very different than being a football parent in the U.S. and again, it is very refreshing.
The life of an elite football player here in Germany is not for everyone. As a 12-year-old, Grayson doesn’t lead a life that’s normal for other kids his age.
We try our best to give him good balance, but his days are dedicated to the sport that he is passionate about.
During the school year, he works hard at the school where he attends the highest level of schooling in Germany called a Gymnasium and trains almost every day after school for 2-3 hours.
His weekends are filled with travel — either around the Munich area or hopping on a plane or train to other parts of Europe. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a dream for Grayson.
He loves it, he is passionate about it and since he started at FC Bayern, we have never seen such motivation, discipline, and devotion to the game he loves. We are so excited for him and what the future holds.