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Article Written By Diego Meneses

Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College, pictured: Marc Hoppler

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) named freshman Marc Hoppler Rookie of the Year. Hoppler was a key player for the great season that the Maroons had this year. He led the strong defensive back next to Junior Captain Sam Rauf by only allowing .97 goals per game this season. He was also an important element of the offensive side, as he had a total of five goals on his early career.

Born in Lucerne, Switzerland, he started playing soccer at the age of six. After two years of playing, he realized that what he felt towards this sport was pure passion, he wanted to keep improving as a player to be able to play at the next level. That’s why, at the age of eight, he would start playing organized soccer for his hometown professional soccer club, FC Luzern. At FC Luzern, he developed his skills as a defender and was able to play at the second highest level for the club. He played for this club for ten years, which enabled him to gain experience on the field, and grow as an individual off the field.

However, despite being so successful in Switzerland, he was not able to stay there; had he wanted to stay in his country, he would not have been able to pursue both soccer and undergraduate studies. But then, he decided to attend a showcase in Leipzig, where he met coach Pflugrad. After having a conversation with him, the two of them felt like a professional relationship would bring nothing but a great outcome for both sides. Pflugrad would add an experienced player to the Maroon soccer team, while Hoppler would be able to continue his studies while playing the sport he feels so passionate about.

Once in Roanoke, Marc felt at home: he was one with the team and he was now part of the Maroon family. When asked about how the team has supported him in his new stage of his life, Hoppler said: “It’s like a big family. It’s just so nice to be part of a team that helps you in any way you need.”

Hoppler also brings a lot of positivity and confidence to the locker room. According to sophomore defender Federico Mor, “He is a hard worker and I am glad that we can learn from a guy that is so professional and mature on and off the field”. His aerial capability and physicality are his two main assets on the field.

The statistics and the awards do not lie. Hoppler is a perfect fit for the Maroon soccer team. With three more years ahead of him, after leaving everything behind in Switzerland, we can only expect the best from this young Swiss player who just wanted to continue the game he loves without risking his education.