For some international students, transitioning to life in the U.S. can be tough, but for USF goalkeeper Christiane Endler, the transition on the field seems to have come naturally.
A month into the season, Endler is ranked eighth in the conference in saves with 36 and fourth in save percentages with 80 percent.
Coming from Santiago, Chile, the 21-year-old freshman, majoring in health science, began playing soccer at a young age with her family.
I started playing when I was three or four years old with my brother and family, Endler said.
Endler grew up watching international soccer.
I think the best player was Fernandinho (Fernando Luiz Rosa), Endler said. For goalkeepers, I like Miguel Garcia and Gianluigi Buffon, but Oliver Khan was my main influence.
Endler played other sports such as volleyball, basketball, and tennis, but as a 16-year-old, she decided to focus more on soccer when she got a call from the Chilean national team.
I was contacted by the (Chilean) national team and I started to like (the idea) of playing professionally, Endler said.
She said her experience playing for her home country has been a blessing for her.
In 2009, while looking up players at the national level, coach Denise Schilte-Brown came across Endlers name through her assistant coach Chris Brown.
Chris identified her three years ago when he was researching national teams and he found her with the national team in Chile, Schilte-Brown said. Then we saw her last year at the Pan Am games.
In 2010, Endler earned the Chilean player of the year and was considered the best female player in Chile, which was one of the reasons why Schilte-Brown recruited her, along with her experience playing on the international level.
At first, Endler declined the offer. But when Schilte-Brown traveled over 5,000 miles to recruit her in Chile, the deal was sealed.
Endler said Schilte-Browns visit with her family reassured her.
It was a long travel, Endler said, But it made me more comfortable to come here.
USF was not the only school recruiting Endler though. Other universities such as Creighton and the University of Nebraska tried to convince the young goalie to come to their schools. Endler said the reason she chose USF was that the school showed the most interest in her and she wanted to be near warm weather.
Endler is one of three players on the USF womens soccer team who has international experience.Sharla Passarielo played for the U-17 and U-19 Welsh teams and Demi Stokes played on the I-19 and U-20 teams for England.
She brings that international experience and has done well for Chile, Schilte-Brown said. I also think that shes the most recognizable female player in her country and shes competitive.
After being in the U.S. for a couple of months, Endler said playing soccer in the U.S. is more physical than in Chile.
The style of soccer is different. Here, they are more physical and more competitive, whereas in Chile, you have three good teams and the others are not so good, she said.
She also describes her transition from living in Chile to the U.S. as smooth with the help of her teammates and coaches.
After beating Cincinnati 4-1 and playing to a 1-1 draw with Louisville over the weekend, Endler and the Bulls head to UConn and Providence this Friday and Sunday.