By Paul Kennedy
Just as the U.S. national team has taken on a German influence with a
German, Jurgen Klinsmann
, as head coach and five German-born and -bred players on its 2014 World Cup team, so has the men's college game been impacted by an
influx of Germans.
Two teams in the round of 16 of the NCAA Division I Men's Tournament that takes place on Sunday owe their spots to winning goals by Germans: UCLA (Leo Stolz
) and Louisville (Tim Kubel
). A German in the round of 16, Daniel Neustadter
brother of German international Roman Neustadter
, had the winning goal as Providence won the Big East Tournament for the first time ever. Germans Fabian Herbers
and Timo Pitte
r were named Big East Offensive Player of the Year and Midfielder of the Year for Creighton. They
were among 10 Germans who started last weekend in winning efforts in the NCAA Tournament's second round. (An 11th German, Larry Ndjock
, who spent time in the Hertha Berlin youth
system and at St. Pauli II, is a key reserve for No. 2 seed UCLA after starring at Loyola, Md., the last two years.)
While Division I programs have recruited from England and Scandinavia
for many years, the pipeline of German talent to U.S. colleges is a recent phenomenon. But as top programs are losing players to MLS clubs, they are looking to Germany as a new source of talent.
Programs like UCLA, Louisville and Creighton until recently relied almost exclusively on American players. None had Germans as recently as three years ago.
Most of the German imports have
spent time in the youth or amateur systems at top German pro clubs -- no longer a problem with the NCAA for the same reason players can play for MLS academies -- and they are usually a year or two
older than their American classmates, typically entering college at 20 or 21. Many of the players are top students as English is generally not a problem. Joachim Ball (Louisville).
Was backup to German international keeper Marc-Andre ter
, now at Barcelona, for Borussia Moenchengladbach II before coming to Louisville. Started in goal for the last two seasons. Completing his third and final year of eligibility at age of
Julian Buescher (Syracuse).
Lone German in the Orange starting lineup that also includes
four Canadians, one Finn and one Norwegian. Started 19 of 20 games and was third on team with four assists. Reached as high as third division 3. Liga with Preussen Muenster before moving down to
Sportfreunde Lotte prior to move to Syracuse.
Julian Gressel (Providence).
Named to the
All-Big East second team and All-Big East Tournament team as a sophomore. Has scored four goals and four assists in his last 10 games. Starter at Eintracht Bamberg in fourth division Regionalliga
Bayern before playing briefly for TSV Neustadt/Aisch prior to enrolling at Providence. Spent his early years at Greuther Fuerth, which spent last season in the Bundesliga.
Fabian Herbers (Creighton).
The youngest of three Germans
starting for Creighton at the age of 21. Named the 2014 Big East Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. Leads the conference with 26 points (9 goals, 8 assists). Spent time in the youth system
at Dutch club FC Twente before moving on to Rehede in the fifth division Oberliga Niederrhein.
Played at Bundesliga club Freiburg in its youth system and spent one season at fifth division Bahlinger before
joining Creighton. Started on NCAA Division I runner-up team as a freshman in 2012. Co-captain as a junior this season.
Tim Kubel (Louisville).
The 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year carried the Cardinals past Saint Louis, setting up the tying goal
and scoring the winner himself in a 2-1 comeback win.
The 5-foot-9 Kubel leads Louisville with seven goals and five assists from his right-back position. Played
for Borussia Dortmund II and Schalke 04 II, getting as high as the third division with Dortmund in 2012-13
Scored the winning goal as the Friars beat Xavier, 2-1, to win the Big East championship for the first time
ever. Played seven games for fourth division Koblenz in 2013-14. Younger brother of German international Roman Neustadter
. Their father, Peter
, was also a longtime professional player and Kazakhstan international.
Named the Missouri Valley Freshman of the Year in 2012 when Creighton went all the way to the NCAA Division I final, where it fell to Indiana, 1-0. Was
named Big East Midfielder of the Year this season. His six goals and eight assists give 23 goals and 16 assists in three years. Played three seasons at Schweifurt in the fifth division Bayernliga Nord
before joining Bluejays. Leo Stolz
Considered one of the five best college players in the country and would have likely gone in the top five of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft if he had come out as a junior when
he was the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Scored on a 30-yard free kick to tie the score and had the golden goal to lead the Bruins to 2-1 win over San Diego in second round. Began college career at
George Mason. Grew up in youth system at 1860 Munich, which offered him a pro contract when he was 18, but was urged to attend college in the United States by his father, who spent a year at UC San
Felix Vobejda (UCLA).
The sophomore midfielder is one of only four
players to play every game the last two seasons for the Bruins. His coach at VfL Osnabrueck in the fifth division Oberliga Niedersachsen was American Joe Enochs.