When playing comes with a price – Australian Jacob Templar tells his story

A story from Jacob Templar, Two year GFL player for the Dresden Monarchs.

Life is hard sometimes.. what makes it harder is the uncertainty of what lies ahead and the anxiety of the unknown always hanging over your shoulders.

After 2 seasons in the GFL with the Dresden Monarchs, I have faced many obstacles, getting chosen to come here in the first place for one. Being away from my family, missing birthdays, deaths, marriages, my injuries, long and hard training sessions, sacrificing employment advancements.. it all takes its toll, but I do it because I love the game of football and what it means to me to play at the highest possible level.

Doing this demands those sacrifices. Being an international athlete comes with the price of distance, but…. not every professional athletes journey has had quite the price as mine. I am not American, I am not a D1, D2 or even a juco athlete. I am just an Aussie with a helmet and a dream to play high quality football.

15,713km… the distance between Brisbane my home and Dresden, my adopted one. Would it surprise you to know that in my 2 years with the Monarchs as a professional athlete inside the GFL, that the amount of kilometres and the amount of euros I have spent to get here is not so different in figures?? Well, it isn’t..

I am one of those rare people, not alone, as I have met others in my position, but rare, where I have travelled across the world, signed contracts, played at one of the highest levels of professional football you can as an IMPORTED player, but still… I am financially burdened by doing so.

As I sit here writing this I have no job, no savings, no assets other than the clothes on my back and a goPro I have used to vlog with on YouTube all season long… and all for the ability to play the game I love.. but when does the price become too high?

I have lived in Germany for 13 out of the last 17 months of my life and worked 4 out of the 5 I am back home to re-earn the money used in the previous season. The whole time I am in Germany, I am not allowed employment outside of the team, no earning opportunity with the burden of living costs, food and travel expenses resting directly on my shoulders. I don’t get paid, the first season I paid my flights, my accommodation in Germany and my travel insurance, EVERYTHING.… Yes the team put some financial investment into me through visa application and healthcare, along with this season paying for my flights as compensation for the ability I had shown in my first year, but in the large scope of my ongoing cost-to-play it is a small amount compared to the financial sacrifice I have made.

When Playing Comes With A Price - Jacob Templar

13 months.. over A YEAR, how much do you think you spend on feeding yourself in a year? Especially when training large amounts consistently… This is yet another cost added onto what it takes for me to get here, that €15,713 adds up quick right? As I type this, I am a month out from returning home and my weekly budget has dwindled to just over €40 a week to keep me going, not a lot less than what I have lived off the entire season.

This cost has resulted in small opportunities for me, when I left Australia I was one of the most successful and dangerous wide receivers in the country. Coming here I was a backup, playing in garbage time, with little to no opportunity to show my worth in real game situations outside of punting the football, which I proved these last 2 seasons I am exceptionally good at.

But over €15,000 just to ride the bench? why? simple.. because I know my ability and I know I can play at this level, I just needed a shot…

Season number 2 and I’m currently at around €14,000. It’s the Quarter-finals late in the year and im on the field in the last quarter as we have the victory all but secured. Up until this point, I have had 2 catches and 6 yards on the season, 1 catch and 17 in the previous year. We call a pass play, I AM WIDE OPEN… the ball comes and i catch it.. i grip it harder than anything I’ve ever held and i RUN! to the 20…to the 10… TOUCHDOWN! 59 yards, my first GFL Touchdown and first real showcase of my ability to play.. this is worth it, this is worth all the time, all the anxiety all of the investment i have put into it… this is what im here to do, and this is what i want to do.

When Playing Comes With A Price - Jacob Templar

I am hoping to be back for a third year in the GFL and will be attending a Combine run on Nov 3-4 here in Germany with the hope to have someone see me and decide I AM worth a PAID contract. If my talent and ability on the field match even half of my resilience and toughness these past 2 seasons i think I’ll be okay.

I hope this isn’t the end for me, as i cannot suffer the financial stress of playing another season without salary/compensation, i am grateful for the opportunities given to me so far, but i know i have so much more to give at this level but….. i guess only time can answer that question.

My closing message.

CHASE YOUR DREAMS, NO MATTER HOW FAR, OR HOW MUCH YOU NEED TO SACRIFICE, THE FEELING THAT YOU DID IT WILL BE WORTH MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.

Until next time, whenever that is… Punting For The People.

Thanks again for the opportunity,
Jacob.

Follow Jacob over on his YouTube Channel Punting For The People, or on Instagram.

For more stories on The Battered Bastards, click here.

Photos: Bk-Foto Sportbilder

Read the original story in The Battered Bastards.

The Battered Bastards
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