With a third of the USF women’s soccer team born outside of the U.S., several players bring a different style of play to the team from their home countries.
Chile native and USF sophomore goalkeeper Christiane Endler said she brings her personal style while fulfilling the defense’s goal: stopping the shot.
“In South America they teach you a lot of techniques,” she said. “I think that’s my advantage here. I am technical.”
Though the style of play in America is more “physical,” Endler said she still plays as she did in Chile, where the coaching staff has helped her to the success she’s had in the states.
“I know a lot about the position,” Endler said. “I think that a good thing from South America is that they get really good goalkeeping coaches.”
Endler was born in Chile’s capital, Santiago. While she grew up playing soccer with her brother, her first opportunity on a team came at the age of 10 as a forward.
“I went to a German school (Colegio Aleman de Santiago) and I played soccer,” she said. “First I started playing as a forward. One of the national team’s coaches asked me if I wanted to start playing goalkeeper.”
The national coaches wanted her to try goalkeeping because of her 6-foot-1 height, hoping she would play for their team. She started practicing as a goalkeeper and went on to play in the 2008 U-20 World Cup.
“My best (childhood soccer) memory is when I played the World Cup for Chile in the U-20,” Endler said. “It was a good experience. I grew a lot as a goalkeeper.”
After playing for both club and the women’s national team in Chile, Endler was recognized as the 2010 Chilean Player of the Year.
USF women’s soccer coach Denise Schilte-Brown was told about the Chilean goalkeeper through her coaching staff and was originally turned down by Endler, but Tampa’s warm climate and a personal meeting in Chile brought Endler to South Florida.
The addition of Endler to the Bulls’ defense contributed to the team’s 2012 Big East tournament appearance. She finished her first year at USF with .76 goals allowed a game, the second fewest during a season in team history.
“I think it’s a team record,” she said. “The important thing is to win matches and have a good season.”
The technical Chilean style of soccer, combined with her reflexes and shot stopping abilities, is helping the team’s defense advance through the season. Endler has only allowed .64 goals a game through ten matches.
“I think the whole team is committed to defense,” Endler said. “Everyone goes up and everyone goes down (the field). Everybody defends. The defense is really organized.”
Endler will look to continue keeping things technical and help the Bulls rebound from a 2-1 loss to UCF when they take on Temple at Corbett Soccer Stadium on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.