Soccer team stretches from coast to coast

Meet the international players on the men’s soccer team.

By Matthew Roberson

When looking at this year’s men’s soccer roster, the first thing that jumps out is the number of international players. The team features a whopping six players from overseas, which includes representation from Israel, Italy and more. The team hopes to build camaraderie between the international and domestic players and continue the success of last season. The 2012 campaign saw the Toreros win the West Coast Conference and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Their magical season continued in the tourney as the Toreros defeated the Cal State Northridge Matadors and UCLA Bruins before eventually falling to the Georgetown Hoyas in the quarterfinals, known more commonly as the Elite 8. In order to duplicate last year’s accomplishments many of the international players will be asked to bring leadership and intensity to a team that lost eight seniors, with Dan Delgado and Christian Duke moving on to the MLS.

Julian Ringhof, a senior defender from Germany, will certainly be looked to for leadership during the 2013 season. Julian began his college career at the Division II level, taking time to adjust to the American style of soccer. According to Ringhof, the major differences between German and American play are the increased speed and physicality. However, once Ringhof became comfortable with his new surroundings he began to excel on the pitch. He was selected as an All-WCC player last year, making the conference’s second team. This does not mean he is satisfied with how last season ended though. With 2013 being his last season with the Toreros, Ringhof hopes to reach the tournament again and make an even deeper run than last year’s Elite 8 squad.

Thomas Fiskerstrand, another of USD’s international players, echoed many of his defensive mate’s thoughts. Fiskerstrand, who hails from Norway, also said the quick pace of play in America was one of the things that took some time to get used to. When asked about his expectations for 2013, Fiskerstrand stated that the goal of the team should be to repeat as West Coast Conference champions and secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament. If the Toreros are able to achieve this goal, it will be the first time they have won back-to-back conference crowns since the late 90s.

It is evident that expectations are high in San Diego for this year’s soccer team. The international players have bought into the idea that this team can win a majority of their games and compete against the perennial powers of the West Coast. It’s not hard to see why USD is able to recruit so many elite players from around the world. Julian Ringhof put it very simply when he remarked “Who wouldn’t want to play at USD?” citing the lovely area and weather as huge factors. Fiskerstrand explained the “vibes of the West Coast” and the gigantic lack of snow in comparison to Norway drew him to the University of San Diego.

To see Ringhof, Fiskerstrand and the rest of the Toreros in action, come out to Torero Stadium on September 20th for a game against the Aggies of UC Davis. This game marks the beginning of four straight home games, giving students ample opportunity to get a first-hand view of one of the best teams in the west.