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From Lossiemouth to Leipzig: Meet the football coach who is working for the Bundesliga giants

Cameron Campbell has joined German side RB Leipzig as a coach.

Cameron Campbell, pictured during his time with Rangers.
Cameron Campbell, pictured during his time with Rangers.

Cameron Campbell’s footballing journey has taken him from Lossiemouth to Leipzig via Aberdeen, Ghana and Glasgow.

The 32-year-old joined Bundesliga giants RB Leipzig last week as a talent development coach working between their first-team and academy.

Lossie native Campbell started coaching in Aberdeen’s youth-set up while studying at Robert Gordon University.

He then joined the Right to Dream academy based in Ghana, who are partnered with Danish top-flight side Nordsjælland.

Campbell then spent the last three-and-a-half years with boyhood heroes Rangers coaching their under-18s and assisting the first-team.

Leipzig offer came as a surprise

A training exchange during his time at Ibrox, which saw Gers youngsters train with Leipzig, led to Campbell being asked to make the move to Germany.

As part of the Red Bull sports group Leipzig have become a major force in German football over the last decade.

They’ve won the German Cup in each of the last two seasons and have been regulars in the Champions League, reaching the last 16 of Europe’s premier competition this term.

Campbell said: “Three or four weeks after the training exchange with Rangers I got a call from RB Leipzig’s academy director and assistant academy director.

“They asked if I’d be available for a zoom call to talk about the experience, but when I got onto the call they were really complimentary of me.

“They had done some research into my journey in football and asked how I fancied joining the club.

“It was a shock and it wasn’t something I’d anticipated happening. They spoke about what they want to achieve at Leipzig.

“It’s a very exciting project which I couldn’t turn down.

Cameron Campbell on the touchline.

“I’ll be working in the professional development phase with the U19s and U17s.

“We’re trying to bridge the gap between youth football and senior football and ensure those high potential players become impactful at first-team level.

“RB Leipzig are quite unique in terms of their story and their journey.

“In terms of the club’s model it’s very exciting, they try to develop young and exciting players.

“You only need to look at their recent transfers selling Dominik Szoboszlai and Josko Gvardiol to the English Premier League for a combined £130million.”

‘Brilliant experience’

Growing up Campbell played for Elgin City and Lossiemouth United before turning his attention to coaching.

He believes coaches who haven’t played at the game’s highest levels are now getting greater opportunities to show their credentials.

Campbell added: “I think things are changing and there are a lot of examples of people who haven’t played at a high level doing well as coaches.

“As a player I realised quite quickly that I was never going to make it to a high level or a professional level.

“But I loved the tactical side of the game and thinking about training.

“At RGU I did sport and exercise science with coaching and while there I was given the opportunity to go into the Aberdeen youth academy.

Cameron Campbell, extreme left, during his time coaching in the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana. Also pictured are Mohamed Diomande (now of Rangers), fourth from left in red, Mohammed Kudus (now of West Ham), second from right in red, and Ibrahim Sadiq (now of AZ Alkmaar) first from right in red. Picture courtesy of Cameron Campbell.

“After doing an internship there I got a part-time job with Aberdeen and worked with age groups between U13s and U17s.

“That was brilliant and then I was fortunate enough to get recommended to the Right to Dream Academy.

“They’re based in Ghana, but have a partner club in Nordsjælland in Denmark.

“I was offered a contract to be the head of lower academy looking after players between U11s and U16s in Ghana.

“That was an unbelievable experience, I had the privilege of being on the same pitch as the likes of Mohammed Kudus (now at West Ham) and Simone Adingra (now at Brighton).

“Alongside that I had the experience of going to Nordsjælland and working with the Danish players.

“When I was there I got a call from Rangers offering me the chance to join them.

“Growing up as a Rangers fan that was surreal moment which didn’t really require any thought and I had three-and-a-half great years there.”

Coach keen to fit in

Campbell is determined to make his mark with Leipzig and one of the first challenges he has set himself is to learn the language.

He said: “It’s really embarrassing not being able to speak the language because at the start of any conversation people say ‘I’m really sorry my English isn’t very good.’

“But then it is good and they have a 40-minute conversation with you which makes you feel worse.

“I did French at school, but didn’t take it seriously.

“Having been to various tournaments abroad and speaking to coaches from other parts of the world they all have English as their second language.

“I’ve set myself the challenge of trying to learn German, the club have provided a tutor so I’m having multiple lessons a week.

“Fitting into the culture is important to me, I’m working in Germany for a German club so I can’t be an outsider.

“We say to players when they go on loan that to stand out they need to fit in and I feel the same.

“I want to stand out here for my ability and what I can add to RB Leipzig and not stand out because I’m Scottish and have a Lossie accent.”