Wed, 09/11/22, 11:00
David Bada: NFL player and Bayern fan
When Joshua Kimmich and David Bada came together for a photo at the stadium in Washington, the Bayern player looked up with a furrowed brow. Kimmich had been beckoned with the phrase "Can you please take a photo with David, he's been a fan of FC Bayern since he was little", and he replied with a grin: "What - you were ever little?" Bada laughed - in fact, it's hard to imagine that he was even once a baby. The 27-year-old measures 1.93 metres and weighs 145 kilograms. These are standard dimensions for an NFL player in American football. Bada plays for the Washington Commanders.
The encounter in the US capital was a good three months ago. Bada was there for Bayern's 6-2 win over DC United at the Audi Football Summit. After the game, he met Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Kingsley Coman, Julian Nagelsmann and many others in the dressing room, in addition to Kimmich - only Sadio Mané escaped him, unfortunately. "That was a pity, he’s my favourite player at the moment," Bada said. Mané had to hurry to the plane at the time because he was being named Africa's Footballer of the Year in Morocco. Should he have just sprinted after him? Bada laughed: "That wouldn't have made sense, I think." He is fast, he says, but American football is trained on completely different priorities: He can clearly keep up with a footballer over the first few yards - if he hasn't grabbed him by then, he's up and gone.
Born in Munich, Bada also played football as a young boy. Even before he started primary school, he chased after the ball and had talent, playing for TSV Forstenried, for example, in the seventh-tier Bezirksoberliga. At first he played in goal, then he tried all positions. Mostly he was a striker or centre-back - until at some point, as curious as it sounds, he became too big and too heavy to make it to a professional level. "Then I had to find a sport I fit into," he said, and after always enjoying watching the Super Bowl, he joined the Munich Cowboys with a friend at the age of 17 - "and couldn't stop." Then, two years ago, he was discovered through the worldwide International Pathway Programme, and the Commanders pounced. Now the 27-year-old is living his dream of making it in the NFL.
A child of two worlds
In Washington, he often walks the streets in his free time wearing FC Bayern gear. A child of two worlds - and rightly proud of it. People recognise the jersey more and more often, he says: "FC Bayern is becoming more and more popular.” He thinks it's cool that the club he loves also made an impact beyond the pitch during the Audi Summer Tour this year. "The fact that FC Bayern stood up against racism and organised a panel discussion on the topic here at the National Museum of African American History and Culture was a strong sign," he said. "I’m proud to be a fan of this club." He remembers the first time he went to the Olympiastadion with his dad - they didn't often get the chance, they didn't have that kind of money, he said. Sammy Kuffour was playing back then. "He was my biggest idol, but I also liked Oliver Kahn and later Mark van Bommel."
When he moved to the NFL, Bada weighed 120 kilograms. The first order was: boy, you have to put on weight. Bada put on weight, which was not easy, it requires discipline - but he is now established among the heavyweights of his sport. He also learned an incredible amount about American football in Washington, he said. "In football, I always knew that I was good on a good day - in American football, you have to be even more focused on a single moment. The mental aspect is crucial," he described. "That's the big challenge." They never play football at the Commanders, not even for warm-ups. Sport number two here is basketball. But there are always questions about soccer, and Bada has a colleague from Manchester in the team with whom he can talk shop far from home.
He still follows Bayern’s games and - if he’s not on the pitch himself at the same time – he will of course be watching the NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks on 13 November at the Allianz Arena. "That would be my absolute lifelong dream, to stand on the field myself at an NFL game in Munich, my home, in this stadium," he says. "This game is also a big topic in our team: American football is booming in Germany, all over Europe - and this game will have a huge impact." Just like he, the giant, as a Bayern ambassador in the capital of the USA, when he walks around in his red and white training gear from Munich. 1.93 metres and 145 kilograms - David Bada is unmissable. Not only Joshua Kimmich looks up to him.
Board member for marketing Andreas Jung spoke about the NFL’s coming debut in the Allianz Arena in the latest issue of club magazine ‘51’: