Prior to Temple’s match against Florida Atlantic on Oct. 4, midfielder Felix Ewald was battling a fever and wasn’t feeling well. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to participate in the game after missing multiple practices.
Despite his symptoms, Ewald decided to leave it all on the pitch for his team. He logged just 14 minutes of play, but notched two goals and helped put the finishing touches on Temple’s first win under first-year head coach Bryan Green.
“I tried to give everything I had in the tank,” Ewald said. “In the first half, the last five minutes, coach wanted me to get as much sprints and runs in as I could.”
Ewald’s influence has only grown as his first season at Temple continues. The midfielder has traveled the world looking for a new place to hone his craft, and Green’s confidence in him has made Ewald a significant part of the program’s future.
Growing up in Berlin, Germany, Ewald played a different style of soccer before coming to the United States last year. In Europe, he learned to move without the ball, making him difficult to guard in the open field. He was an aggressive midfielder, constantly shaking defenders and doing whatever it took to get open for a scoring opportunity.
“I feel like when I came here, it was clear German players play differently than American players,” Ewald said. “I think there is a different idea when playing, but seeing the combination of both is really good.”
Ewald played for FC Berlin U19 and worked with Vista Athletics to find a soccer scholarship in the U.S. They found him an opportunity at Mississippi College, a Division II school, where he scored seven goals, including four game-winners and one assist.
Despite Ewald’s early success, he still had dreams of moving higher and playing at the Division I level.
Ewald entered the NCAA Transfer Portal after he spoke to his agents and waited for an opportunity to prove his worth. Green, who was newly hired and looking for players to help fill his roster, was also looking in the portal. He was specifically trying to find an attacking midfielder with speed and off-ball skill. That led him straight to Ewald, and their relationship took off.
“He gave me a lot of confidence,” Ewald said. “He really sees something in me. He sees my talent, and I really appreciate that.”
Ewald was one of 14 new players on Green’s roster. Green knew Temple had a special talent in Ewald and wanted to use him in the open field as much as possible.
“He’s a threat in the box on restarts,” Green said. “He’s really good at finishing with both feet, and he can serve the ball as well. He’s running at top speed and making things happen, and he needs to recognize his ability to do things at top speed.”
However, Ewald’s strengths did not impact the box score throughout the early parts of the season. He had at least one shot in five of his first six games, but couldn’t break through. Ewald and midfielders Lleyton Imparato and Xavier Rimpel led an attack that was hungry for results.
Despite the slow start, Green remained confident in his players and made sure Ewald would have his opportunity.
“I said all along that we have been improving and every game we’ve gotten better,” Green said. “If we continue improving every game from here on out, we’ll get some results.”
That confidence paid off and Ewald scored three goals and recorded two assists for the Owls in a four-game span, which gave him the team lead. In the four games, the Owls had a 2-1-1 record and seem to have turned things around after starting 0-4-2.
Ewald’s momentum started in Temple’s 2-2 draw with UAB on Sept. 23 after recording his first goal of the season, and ending Temple’s four-game losing streak. The following game, Ewald was a major factor against Florida Atlantic in Temple’s first conference win since beating FAU in 2022.
In the Owls’ biggest game of the season, Ewald also shined. He earned the game-winning assist to Rocco Haeufglockner against No. 10 Syracuse, the defending NCAA champions. On the play, Ewald ran up the sideline and made a thorough pass to Haeufglockner, who scored with less than two minutes remaining.
“Under Green, we’ve been rebuilding,” Imparato said. “In the short time he has had with us, a lot of people won’t see it, but there has been a ton of improvement. In my final two years and Felix’s final two years, I think we can be a real threat in this nation.”
Ewald is a major factor in Green’s rebuild, and his success is paramount to the team’s future. Without Green’s confidence, Ewald’s development would not have taken its current path.
“We are a brand new team, a lot of young players, and we are getting used to each other,” Ewald said. “I try to do my job with scoring and assisting, just putting my teammates in the best spot to succeed.”