This is part 2 of a 15-part series covering the top prospect from every U19 team in Belgium.
By: Justin Cox
If you’ve ever been anywhere remotely close to Brussels, you realized quickly just how ethically and culturally diverse the area is opposed to most of the other parts of the country. The Brussels region is one of the most unique areas I’ve ever worked and lived because it serves as major crossroads in the heart of Europe. You can expect that same kind of diversity bleed into the ranks of American Football in the region, especially when we are talking about the rising star defensive back, Phillip Timmermann and the Brussels Black Angels.
Timmermann stands at 5’8”, weighs 190 lbs, and he is nowhere near done growing. Why? Because he’s only 16 and already has the physique and strength of a DI athlete. He’s a dedicated gym rat with a bench press of 335 lbs, a deep squat of 460 lbs, and a deadlift of 480 lbs. I can’t remember the last time I ever hit those numbers in the gym and it’s probably because I never did. Along with his impressive gym stats, his football background complements.
Timmermann’s football career started with the Berlin Rebels of Germany where he premiered on the U16 squad there and determined that football was going to be his ultimate goal. Through his parents’ job requirements of moving around the world, he found himself at Hiawatha High School, in Kirkland, Illinois for his freshman year where he got to experience traditional American high school football playoff action. If that wasn’t enough exposure, in 2019 he found himself under Coach Stijin de Backer, Head Coach for the Brussels Black Angels U16 and U19 squads for the last 12 seasons.
When I talked to Coach Stijin de Backer, the one word that was always brought up about Timmermann was “athleticism”. “He’s a gym rat so improving his athleticism comes natural for him. He is an all-round athlete with good physical attributes. He played predominantly Fullback and D-line at the U16 level but moved to FB and LB/SS at the U19 squad” .
I had the opportunity to chat with Timmermann over a couple of days and here is what transcribed:
Which position do you prefer to play professionally and why?
Timmermann: I prefer linebacker. The linebacker is the field general of the defense, and you have to have great athleticism to play at that spot. What I enjoy even more though is to bounce around the field, playing multiple positions. I feel like I have that ability, and I love to help out where I can. Special teams accounts for 33% of a game, and playing returner, gunner and headhunter are my favorites.
What was the most memorable football game you’ve played?
Timmermann: My most memorable game would be qualifying for the playoffs with my team in the US. It’s a very small school and they only made the playoff once before. In that game I rushed for 3 touchdowns and over 150 yards. I absolutely loved it. Another great game was winning the Belgian bowl with the U16 this summer, my first ever championship title.
Where do you see your playing career in four years?
Timmermann: I started playing football when I was in 8th grade, so this is my fourth year (because my year in the US did not count towards my graduation credits here in Belgium). In four years, I’d be a junior in college. I see myself playing at a great program in the states, that is my primary goal. But I also know that college football isn’t for everyone, and that injuries can happen to anyone. That’s why I have a plan B – that is to play ball in the Germany Football League or the Central European Football League while studying.
Now, the more important questions…. Pre-game ritual and any preferred meal before or after the game?
Timmermann: My only set pregame ritual that I follow on every game day is to clean my room the night before. Everything has to be in its spot and tucked away. I also started doing yoga before games, it helps me to calm down and get mentally prepared for the game. When it comes to pre-game food, I’m kind of funny – oatmeal and maple syrup paired with baked beans and eggs, all mashed together. Also, a ton of pickles and pickle juice. Beans, oatmeal, eggs and maple syrup? I was a lineman once too but that is a first for me. It’s banging – you have to try it!
What does winning mean to you and what do you do afterwards?
Timmermann: Every game has its ups and downs, but in the end, winning is all I care about. No matter how I played, I thank my teammates for being out there with me and balling out. A win gets celebrated by having dinner with my family after the game, where we discuss every little detail of the game.
What about losing?
Timmermann: Losing absolutely sucks, but you need to fall in order to ride up. Watching game tape is a huge factor in preparation for the upcoming week, an aspect to the game that I didn’t know of until I got to the US. But my coaches there truly let me
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