01 Dec Alumni Matthew Hoppe Starts for Schalke in Bundesliga Debut
December 1, 2020
Casa Grande, Ariz – Barça Residency Academy alumni Matthew Hoppe began his professional career with the FC Schalke U-19 team in the summer of 2019 with ambitions of making it to the first team. “I plan on learning their system and style of play as fast as possible,” Hoppe told us in a past interview. “Being the hardest working on and off the field and taking care of my body through proper nutrition and rest,” was his plan of action. That plan proved to be successful as Hoppe broke into the first team line-up just a year and a half later becoming the first Barça Residency Academy graduate to compete in an official Bundesliga match.
After an outstanding 2019-20 season with the Schalke U-19s, the 19-year-old striker was promoted to the U-23 team at the start of the 2020-21 season where he appeared in fifteen games.
On Saturday, November 28 Matthew Hoppe’s long-time dream came true as he not only make his made his Bundesliga debut, but he cracked into the starting line-up and played 81 impressive minutes for the Royal Blues. His performance earned high praises from head coach Manuel Baum who said, “When you pull up youth players, there are two types: those who are overwhelmed and take three/four weeks to perform and those who aren’t fazed by the occasion. I’ve experienced Matthew as the latter so far.”
Hoppe had two efforts on goal, found a teammate for a shot, and completed 70 percent of his passes – a great debut, despite the disappointing 4-1 away defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
“Matthew has a gift that is very important for young players when they are playing professionally for the first time – his humble and easy-going manner,” said Baum. “It seemed as though he’d always been here right from the very first training session,” he praised of youngster’s readiness and adaptability.<br>
Hoppe’s preparedness comes as no surprise to those who have been following his career over the years. He is skilled, confident, fearless, poised, and ambitiously determined, traits he’s continually displayed throughout his soccer career as a rising American prospect.
“I was a bit surprised, but I felt that I was ready. I’ve worked towards this for a long time and obviously I’m over the moon to have achieved this goal,” said Hoppe in a Schalke interview. Hoppe described the first few minutes of professional football as “an incredible experience. The Bundesliga is very physical, but it felt good to be out there on the pitch.”
Hoppe joined Schalke in the summer of 2019 from Barça Residency Academy where he had a decorated two-season career. He was a USSDA top scorer in both his season with Barça, scoring a total of 53 goals in 50 appearances. Hoppe finished fourth in goal scoring in the 2017-18 season where he helped his team to a third place finish in the DA playoffs. In his senior campaign (2018-19), Hoppe led the league in goal scoring with 29 goals in just 20 appearances and was named to the 2019 DA West Best XI.
As Schalke head coach Baum stated, Hoppe is ready for the big stage and he’s prepared to seize the occasion. Look for him to receive his next opportunity on Sunday, December 6 in what would be an equally tough encounter at home for Schalke against Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 10.