By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The La Salle University men’s soccer team is alone at the top of the Atlantic 10 with a 3-0 conference mark and a big reason why is the play of senior Jason Plumhoff.
The midfielder currently leads the Atlantic 10 in assists with eight and he is tied for the conference lead in goals with seven.
While he is now starring at La Salle, Plumhoff’s soccer journey actually started in Germany where he grew up. His father works for the government and was based there when Jason was born.
“I grew up in Southern Bavaria in a little town called Rosenheim,” Plumhoff tells KYW Newsradio. “Played soccer there obviously, because everyone loves soccer in Germany. Got recruited by FC Bayern, one of the big club teams over in Europe, and actually moved to Munich and started playing at a soccer academy school type of thing. Then my dad got relocated back to Fort Meade in Maryland, so we had to come back here when I was 15.”
As for the road that led him to La Salle, Plumhoff says that started soon after he settled into life in the states.
“I honestly wasn’t even going to play college soccer,” Plumhoff says. “But then a coach by the name of Al Alvarez talked me into playing soccer for him, for a club team in Maryland. We were actually really good, we were ranked nationally, and we started attracting a lot of scouts. At the time, Bobby Wilkinson, our assistant coach (at La Salle), he saw me play in New York in some tournament and contacted Al and said he was really interested, said he liked the way I played. We set up a visit, (I) came to visit, and it’s history since then.”
History is a key word here, because when it is all said and done, Plumhoff’s name will be littered all over the La Salle record book. He is currently tenth in program history with 20 goals, sixth with 70 career points and he is second all-time in assists with 24. He is within striking distance of the program single season record for assists, his current total of eight has him three off that mark.
His head coach, Pat Farrell, has had a front row seat to Plumhoff’s career.
“He bought into what we were trying to do in regards to fitness and lifting weights and trying to make himself a better athlete,” Farrell tells KYW Newsradio. “He always had the technical ability with the ball and he’s the kind of player, he kind of thinks out of the box, he doesn’t always think inside the box, which means that he has the ability to really impact games by doing something because of his vision, and his technical ability, he’s able to do some special things for us.”
Plumhoff points to that “outside the box” thinking, or creativity, as something he thinks does set him apart.
“I try to stay in the moment and not really be too predictable,” Plumhoff says. “I mean I’m not the biggest guy, I’m not the fastest guy, but I try to do the unexpected.”
Farrell says Plumhoff had a great role model to follow early in his career in another La Salle great, Ryan Richter. And now he says Plumhoff is serving as the example for the rest of the squad.
“For the last three-and-a-half years he’s worked very hard,” Farrell says. “He’s put a lot of effort and energy into what we’re trying to do. And when a younger player sees that, sees the opportunity for a junior or senior to succeed and sees what kind of work ethic he has each and every day, that’s a great role model to follow.”
While his college career is winding down, Plumhoff is by no means wrapping up his soccer playing days. He has his eyes on making the jump to the pro level, either in Major League Soccer or overseas.
“I want to,” Plumhoff says. “Soccer’s been probably the biggest part of my life. So I kind of want to continue that. Past two summers I played in the PDL (Premier Development League), it’s like one notch above college soccer, one notch below professional soccer. It’s a development league for the top college players and I was pretty successful this past season in it and got some recognition, so I hope it’s going to help me.”
First thing is first, however, as Plumhoff will lead the Explorers (6-5-2 overall) back into action on Friday night as they visit VCU. This is a key match for La Salle, as Virginia Commonwealth is one of two teams half a game behind them in the A-10 standings.
The match is slated to get underway at 7:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.