After near-death experience, soccer coach starts club for kids


A soccer coach who almost died from a rare disease is now giving back by starting a soccer league for underprivileged children.

Soccer coach Hansi Herzog defines winning by the process, not always by the end result.

Six years ago, he had all the simple things, like yelling and standing to watch the game, taken away.

“I thought I was going to die,” Herzog said.

In January 2011, Herzog was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disease where the immune system attacks the nervous system.

A man who spent most of his life on his feet playing soccer became paralyzed from head to toe.

“Your body is gone but your brain is still there,” Herzog said.

Through all the struggles, his wife never lost hope.

“It was horrible. I took one of my favorite pictures of him when he was healthy, and I showed it to the nurses, the doctors and I said, ‘This is him, not how he is,’ and I refused to see it. I said ‘You’re going to come through this,'” Ingrid Herzog said.

“Then it was a fight for the next week or so. I coded out a couple of times — once was in front of my wife, then the other time in front of my daughter. And that’s got to be the hardest thing because I remember it. I remember everything going black, falling asleep. They brought me back,” Hansi Herzog said.

After nearly two months paralyzed, doctors were able to reverse the symptoms, and their hope was met with reward.

“That first step, I never thought I would be able to do it,” he said.

He hasn’t stopped moving forward since.

“I didn’t know if I was going to walk or even get back to this sport,” he said.

He’s back and on a mission. Herzog and his wife founded Waukesha United, a nonprofit soccer league that’s affordable for all kids.

“It’s kind of my way of helping kids out today,” he said.

“To reach out and do something good. He has another chance,” Ingrid Herzog said. “How many people could do that. I call him my Miracle Man.”

“To be on the sidelines coaching kids basically saved me,” Hansi Herzog said.

The Herzogs and the Waukesha United Soccer Club are looking for players of all ages and skill levels. They will have an open house on Sunday.

Leave A Reply