Life off the field

It may not be easy balancing sports, work and recreation, but USF men’s soccer player Simon Schoendorf manages to do so. The Karlsruhe, Germany native has put up impressive numbers on the soccer field and has been able to enjoy a social life at the same time.

“I think it’s very important to keep a social balance during the season so that you don’t get overwhelmed and can focus at the right time,” Schoendorf said.

Schoendorf, a junior, doesn’t let social distractions inhibit his performance on the soccer field, however. He has amassed five points on two goals and one assist and has converted seven of 11 shots on goal, the second highest percentage on the team behind senior Hunter West.

“It’s hard work and dedication,” Schoendorf said, noting what has contributed to his success on the field. “I came out of the summer pretty well. I’m happy that I’m having a good start to the season.”

Kris Raad, a junior who is Schoendorf’s teammate and roommate, thinks highly of the 6-foot-2 forward.

“He’s a leader on the field,” Raad said. “He brings a different style to the game, which is very helpful. He creates a lot of chances for us. He comes up big in big-time games. He’s pretty helpful to our team.”

Schoendorf downplays his own performance, though.

“I’m my own worst critic and I think it’s important for every athlete – every person in general – to be very critical of themselves,” Schoendorf said. “We have some great players on our team, and you never see them on any place records just because (their) job isn’t to score goals.”

Schoendorf’s support of his fellow athletes extends well beyond the soccer field.

“Our football team – I enjoy watching them and supporting them, and I’m a pretty big supporter of our basketball team,” said Schoendorf, who tries to attend USF sporting events whenever he can.

Schoendorf regrets that he hasn’t been able to see the Buccaneers play at Raymond James Stadium.

“I’ve been meaning to see a Buccaneers game for a long time, just because over in Germany, we don’t have football,” Schoendorf said. “I’ve always been really excited to go watch a Buccaneers game.”

Schoendorf was in attendance at the 2006 World Cup, however, which was held exclusively in Germany this summer.

“It was great, a big adventure,” Schoendorf said. “Pretty much every game is like a Super Bowl. It made me very excited to come back to USF to play soccer again.”

Coach George Kiefer said Schoendorf’s first-hand observations from the World Cup came in handy for suggestions on improving the team.

“He was giving me some pretty good ideas about what some of the better teams were doing as far as the open-field stuff,” Kiefer said.

The World Cup isn’t the only thing Schoendorf gets excited for in Germany. He cherishes good home cooking that isn’t readily available to him in Tampa.

“To be honest, (I miss) my mom’s food,” Schoendorf said. “But throughout my life, I’ve learned to adapt to different places. Over here, there is such a big variety of foods.”

Schoendorf and Raad have developed a friendship on and off the field from living together.

“It’s great (living with Schoendorf),” Raad said. “We’ve lived together since we were freshmen. We like our music, we like clubbing (and) we have all the same classes together. We’ve always got along great – never had any problems. He’s my best friend here in Tampa.”

Still, Schoendorf reminds himself that to be completely successful, some time must be devoted to academics.

“We all try to balance school and athletics,” he said. “Whenever I’m not playing soccer or traveling, I try to keep up with my school work a little bit.”

With Schoendorf’s offensive numbers this season, it is safe to say his balancing act is effective. But Schoendorf can’t praise his teammates enough in the team’s pursuit of its second consecutive Big East Red Division title.

“We definitely have the personnel to achieve something great,” he said.