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Player Spotlight: Matthew Hoppe

May 1, 2021

Hello All,

I hope this blog post finds you well.

We have had to be fast, fluid, flexible and most importantly patient. I am so proud of all my players’ (and players’ families) commitment to play during this difficult year. It is clear that these players truly love this game – this is the most important factor in their development. As we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel in this COVID time, I am excited to see all the good things in store for my players!

A few of my players have had recent successes that I wanted to celebrate with the Play Higher FC family.

Matthew Hoppe signs a contract with Schalke 04 worth $3.3 million

Hoppe was 13 years old when he began coming to Play Higher FC street soccer at the Saddleback Church parking lot. We only hosted the events on Friday nights as I was still playing at UC San Diego. Matthew would come down from Yorba Linda, experiment with his dribbling and finishing, and have fun with friends in this stress-free, “underloaded” environment.

Fast forward to 2020, I was selfishly delighted that I got to spend so much time with Hoppe this summer because of COVID. Matthew was home while his Schalke u23 games were postponed due to the pandemic which meant that I was able to train him more than usual! He has remained the same Matthew Hoppe: joyful, experimental in his finishing, having fun on the field, and working just as hard as he played. We had a very fun group of high level, college and pro players that was full of freedom, banter, and play.

Hoppe left to Germany to train with the Schalke u23s in mid-July. He still had 3 years that he would be young enough to play for the Reserve Squad. But Hoppe earned the chance to play with the first team. After impressing Schalke’s first team coaches in training, Hoppe earned his first ever start in the Bundesliga in November. A few games later, he scored his first Bundesliga goal: an amazing left footed chip over the keeper that reminded me of all the fun and crazy skills he would try at street soccer. Then he scored two more goals, grabbing a hat-trick, and securing a historic 4-0 win over TSG Hoffenheim. Hoppe has continued his scoring streak in the Bundesliga. This month, Hoppe signed a professional contract with Schalke 04. Since then, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, and Chelsea have all made trips out to Germany to watch Hoppe play. I am very proud of Matthew and am excited to see what is next in his career.

Click here to watch Hoppe’s Hat-Trick vs Hoffenheim.