German Student Makes Most of Time with LeBlond Soccer

Published 05/13 2014 11:18PM

Updated 05/13 2014 11:35PM

(ST. JOSEPH) It can be hard enough to move to a new town, let alone a new country. For Bishop LeBlond foreign exchange student Hanna Hoffmann, the transition she made from Germany to Missouri 10 months ago was easy. 

"The first time I saw it, I was like: 'Where's Missouri?' But, in the end I found it and I'm pretty happy here," she said. 

Hoffmann came to LeBlond as a junior with a passion for soccer and the intent to play. However, you won't find her on the pitch during a game or even her name on the roster. For her, varsity wasn't an option.

Foreign exchange students can only play a sports at the junior varsity level unless they are seniors, per MSHSAA rules. The only problem: LeBlond did not have the bodies to field a junior varsity team this year for the first time under Ken Girard, meaning there was nowhere for Hoffmann to go. 

"Of course she was kind of upset because she had been told (in Germany) that she could play," Girard said. "I said: 'Hannah, you can do what you want, but let me throw this out there. If you come play with us, we're going to get better because of your background."

"It's just like having another club player. That's always going to help the team."

Hoffmann quickly shook off the disappointment and took Girard's offer. She's been a regular presence with the team ever since, acting as a practice player and ball girl. 

"It was pretty hard at the beginning, but the team has to lose together to win together," she said. "I really though it would be helpful if I would be the spirit."

She's now treated like any other Lady Eagle, even being recognized on Senior Night on Monday with her parents from Germany in the stands. 

She'll travel back to her home country on Sunday, two days before LeBlond opens district play, but has plenty of memories of the game and school she's grown to love to take back.

"I really had a lot of fun with the team. I love the team, I love everyone. Every single one is awesome."

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.