Hermann Doerner walked down the hallway to his first floor meeting at Morgan Hall, a little hesitant and unsure of what to expect.
After arriving at Temple in mid-August, the freshman midfielder was getting used to a new environment and culture. When he walked into the meeting room, reality set in.
“There are 20 athletes on my floor, including the whole football team,” said Doerner, who hails from Bad Nauheim, Germany. “When I went to the meeting, everyone was taller and it was like I looked up to everyone. In Germany this kind of thing does not happen to me a lot.”
While in Europe, he played for the under-18 German national team and captained the Eintracht Frankfurt U19 squad.
With athletic scholarships non-guaranteed at German universities, Doerner came to the United States with his future in mind.
“I think to play soccer and study here at the same time, I wanted to do that,” Doerner said. “Also, when I can speak English fluently, it will be very good for the future. That’s the main reason.”
The Owls’ coaching staff, as well as Doerner’s teammates has tried to make him comfortable at Temple and ease the adjustment process by doing team activities.
Last weekend, the team took a trip to the football team’s home opener against Penn State on Sept. 5.
“My coaches looked after me a lot, and my team is cool,” Doerner said. “They called me all the time, and that made it an easy decision to come here. Everything is very good—the university, the city, and the people I’ve met are very nice.”
Despite being in the U.S. for only one month, Doerner earned a spot in the Owls’ starting lineup. He has totaled four shots on goal in the team’s 2-0-1 start.
The freshman played all 90 minutes in the Owls’ 2-0 win against Penn State, which was ranked No. 25 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America coaches’ poll coming into the game.
“Sometimes there’s spite on the team when someone is playing over you, but there’s none toward [Doerner] at all,” junior defender Matt Mahoney said. “He’s been able to come in and get the job done the right way. He’s only a freshman, but he acts like an upperclassman already. He jokes around easily and gets along with everyone on the team, and those are not traits that a lot of people possess.”
Coach David MacWilliams said early on he has been impressed with Doerner’s soccer IQ and personality.
“I think [Doerner’s] knowledge of the game and his engine are what really help us,” MacWilliams said. “He reads the game very well and works extremely hard. Hermann is a great kid.”
Doerner’s motivation on the field stems from his ultimate goal—playing professional soccer. He hopes his time at Temple, both in the classroom and on the field, will aid his progress.
“I want to become a professional soccer player,” Doerner said. “That was my goal in Germany and it’s still my goal here. I played at all the fields in Germany, and it’s pretty cool to see all the fans. I was with the team in Frankfurt for a few weeks, and I enjoyed it, so it’s a big goal of mine to become a pro player.”
Dan Newhart can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @danny_newhart.