Schmitt bound for BresciaApril 30, 2014
From Herald Staff Reports
JASPER — Ever since middle school, the goal of playing college soccer had been ingrained in Derek Schmitt’s mind, and nothing along his path through high school seemed to change that.
And even after Schmitt was contacted by the former Brescia University men’s soccer coach a few months ago and then saw that coach depart from the program, leaving the situation somewhat uncertain, the goal remained unchanged.
Before the NAIA school in Owensboro had even filled its coaching vacancy, Schmitt made his decision: He wanted to be a Bearcat. Tuesday, the Jasper senior made it official, signing to play soccer for Brescia this fall.
Though the coaching spot has been filled, the Bearcat team remains in a period of transition, Schmitt said. And he’s excited about that.
“They’re in a rebuilding stage,” Schmitt said of the Bearcats, who collected a 6-11-1 record last season despite making the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals. “But I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting back to being really competitive and challenging those top-tier teams.”
Schmitt should help. As a senior on the Wildcats’ 14-3-2 squad, he anchored a defense that posted 13 shutouts and at one point maintained a streak of 880 minutes without surrendering a goal.
With Brescia, Schmitt only sees positives. He’s met his future teammates, including 2013 Jasper graduate Conner Braun, and they all seem like good, competitive guys with decent ability, said Derek, the son of Dean and Jill Schmitt of Jasper. Plus, the small school size — nearly 1,000 students and a campus small enough to traverse on foot in just a few minutes — was what he wanted, too.
Now, Schmitt will look to combine his ultra-competitive attitude with a new crew of like-minded teammates.
“It’s definitely going to create some competition,” Schmitt said of a team aiming for its first winning season in seven years. “Not only within our own team to fight for starting positions, but to bring out the best in what we can do to bring a challenge to the opponents.”
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