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In the UEFA
Brand only made her first international appearance in April 2021 coming on as a substitute against Australia and scoring within two minutes, four more goals have followed in her burgeoning international career making the physically powerful and versatile teenager, who only started playing the game due to her brother, one to watch at this summer’s tournament.
Brand learned how to impose herself in games playing alongside boys until the age of 15 when she joined TSG Hoffenheim in 2018. After two years with the second team, Brand graduated to the senior team helping them qualify for the women’s Champions League last season. Although they went out in the group stage of that competition, a string of eye-catching performances, particularly in scoring during a 4-1 rout of Arsenal, brought Brand to global prominence.
So in demand were her talents that German champions, VfL Wolfsburg took the unusual step in the women’s game of buying Brand out of her contract at Hoffenheim which expired in 2023 by triggering an exit clause to tie her to a three-year deal with them which began earlier this week.
Upon securing her signature in February, Wolfsburg’s Sporting Director Ralf Kellermann enthused, “Jule is not only one of the biggest and most sought-after talents in Germany, but also internationally. With her speed and her individual offensive qualities, Jule exudes an extreme goal danger even at a young age. In addition, she also fits perfectly into our requirement profile in terms of character.”
Sitting alongside her future club captain, Svenja Huth, an Olympic champion and a winner of the UEFA Women’s Euro in 2013, Brand was just 10 years old when Huth lifted the trophy in Stockholm. She told me she has no recollection of watching that tournament but finds it hard to believe she will be playing alongside Huth at the age of 19.
“Suffice to say, it’s an absolute dream come true for me to be here. As a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of being part of a big event just like this and the fact that’s it really has happened is indescribable and I’m looking forward to hopefully what is a very long stay here in England.”
The baby of the international team, Brand is subject to inevitable teasing from the rest of the players. She revealed that the senior players regularly force her to fetch drinks from the opposite side of the pitch as part of her initiation into the squad. Nonetheless, she will earn up to €60,000 ($63,000) if Germany win the tournament, a record bonus negotiated by the senior members of the squad like Huth, an amount more in keeping with the growing global recognition of the women’s game.
“Yes, I think the tournament can be an excellent platform for us” said Brand. “For professional women’s players and for the fans, both for people in the stadiums and those watching in front of their television sets back home. We are called upon to show that we too can play football and we too know what football is all about and we hope to create an interest in as many people as possible.”
Travelling with the German team to England is the legendary striker Brigit Prinz, the leading European international goalscorer of all time, twice a world champion and the winner of five Women’s Euro titles, including in 2005 when England last hosted the tournament. Now all that experience is being utilized by the German federation in her role as team psychologist. Brand is too young to remember Prinz as a player but nonetheless appreciates what she brings to the camp.
“I definitely spoke to Birgit and we’ve had a few one-on-ones. Maybe less about her experience as a player herself and more about psychological things, the advice she can share. Whatever she has to offer is very, very helpful and I definitely talk to her absolutely.”
Still a teenager, Brand admits she is feeling nervous about playing in her first senior championship for the German national team. “Yes, I won’t deny that. The level of nervousness is surely but slowly rising but I think when we meet and watch England play Austria for the Opening Game together, the level of tension will rise, that is undeniable but we will try and convert it into a positive sense of action.”
“My sister is coming over to the third group match (against Finland). As far as my parents are concerned, it’s a bit difficult as they’re both working. My sister at least, she’s the one coming over, my parents maybe later, if we survive the group stage.”