First-year midfielder Quint Breitkreuz dribbles the ball during a Butler vs Lipscomb soccer match on September 21. Photo courtesy of Zach Bolinger.
RYAN GRILL | SPORTS JOURNALIST | [email protected]
Everyone has experienced confinement in different ways: some spent time watching TV, some read books, others ate a lot, and some even spent time exercising. For Quint Breitkreuz, a first-year midfielder on the men’s soccer team, a strict lockdown in Germany meant time to reflect on his future.
Breitkreuz had heard his friends talking about the possibility of playing college football in the United States, so he started doing his own research. The midfielder was playing professionally for Teutonia 05 – his hometown team – in German fourth division, which meant he had a good chance of receiving a full scholarship to a top tier premier league school.
Butler’s head coach Paul Snape was the second coach to call in, but he was not initially looking for German players. Snape called a friend of his who had a recruiting company in Brazil to ask him about the players. After bad luck in Brazil, Snape’s friend suggested he watch a German player, Quint Breitkreuz. After watching a few games and highlights, Snape knew he had a talented player on his hands.
“You can tell immediately that he has a ton of abilities,” Snape said. “I’m like ‘wow, and he’s available’.”
Although Breitkreuz has relatively good English, a translator participated in the early conversations. Breitkreuz loved Snape’s vision for his future and the program he had built over his 11 seasons.
“I really enjoyed the first conversation we had,” said Breitkreuz. “I enjoyed the conversation as well as what [Snape] wanted to achieve with the team.
The 19-year-old might not have the stats to show it, but he’s been a crucial part of the Bulldogs midfielder this season, recording big minutes in every game. Breitkreuz showed his full potential against Marquette earlier in the season, assisting on a goal and scoring the winner in overtime. The performance against Marquette helped Breitkreuz win Great Eastern freshman of the week.
Although Breitkreuz’s impressive career in Germany prepared him to shine, college football has been slow to adjust. Not only are there weird lines all over the pitch – football lines – but you can swap players freely, something Breitkreuz hadn’t played with before. The speed at which college football is played was also a surprise for Breitkreuz.
“Probably the biggest difference is endurance and fitness is a lot better,” said Breitkreuz. “There are a lot more athletic players here, skilled players. It is a very high level.
Getting around the world is not easy and Breitkreuz was well aware of the challenges that came with it. However, at Breitkreuz Butler offered what many other colleges did not: a support system. This system included mentors who had also personally moved from another country to be part of the men’s football program – including Snape himself – who grew up in England.
“We have Europeans here and [Snape] is also from England so it was a good connection, ”said Breitkreuz.
One of the other Europeans on the squad is Breitkreuz’s roommate and first-year midfielder Philip Halvorsen. Halvorsen took a similar step towards the United States from Norway, and the two took advantage of being in similar situations.
“We’ve had a lot of the same needs since coming here, and we’ve understood them together,” said Halvorsen. “We respect the fact that we both want to call home, and we give each other space for that. This is something that we really appreciate. ”
Breitkreuz is not only a talented player on the pitch, in fact the most impressive aspect about him is his character. Known for bringing a smile to every occasion, Breitkreuz is a team favorite. When he’s not boosting morale, Breitkreuz takes care of his teammates on and off the pitch.
“He cares a lot about the people closest to him,” said Halvorsen. “I have noticed that he wants the best for me, especially on the pitch where we sometimes play at the same position and so one of us has to replace the other.”
The future is certainly bright for Breitkreuz, who has the talent and character to be a centerpiece of the men’s soccer program for the next three years. For Breitkreuz, however, the future is the future and staying in love with the game in the present is always the end goal.
“I just like to play football,” said Breitkreuz. “Of course I want to win, but having a good time with the team is also important.”
Quint and the Bulldogs are in action this Thursday against Providence, 16th in the standings, for the Big East semi-final game held in Washington, DC.