The following US sensation within the Bundesliga
For Schalke 04 something special was always needed in order not to set an embarrassing record at the weekend. The club hadn’t won the Bundesliga for almost a year, a total of 30 games, and if they hadn’t defeated Hoffenheim they would have hit Tasmania Berlin (1965-66) record of 31 games without a win. Thanks to Matthew Hoppe, they avoided such shame.
The previously relatively unknown 19-year-old American scored an amazing hat trick (the first by a US player in the Bundesliga) that gave Schalke a 4-0 win over Hoffenheim and even lifted them off the foot of the table.
In just his third start for the club, the striker became an overnight sensation. Here you can find information about the newest star of the Bundesliga.
Where does he comes from?
Hoppe had just turned 18 and sealed his move to Schalke on July 1, 2019, after two successful years at the US Arizona Residency Academy in Arizona in the (now defunct) league of the US Soccer Development Academy.
After moving to US midfielder Weston McKennie (who is now on loan to Juventus) in Germany, Hoppe played his first year for the Schalke U-19 national team, for which he scored three goals in 17 games before joining the club The second team that plays in the fourth stage of German league football was promoted before the current season.
Although he had only one goal for Schalke II in 16 games in the Regionalliga West before he was promoted to the first team, Hoppe has since accumulated 302 minutes in six games in the Bundesliga and in the DfB Pokal. And of course it has three goals.
Kasey Keller and Steve Cherundolo discuss whether or not his hat trick is a mark of Matthew Hoppe.
Because of his physical profile and ability – Hoppe is 6 feet 2, athletic, and powerful – he went on to become an absolute center-forward by the time he was in his mid-teens and had scored nearly 60 goals in two seasons before leaving the US it was clear that this position was his best chance for a professional career on both sides of the Atlantic.
Even so, he was occasionally used on both sides of midfield for Schalke II and while his performances in Schalke’s youth and second team were promising, his form gave no indication of the incredible impact on Hoffenheim.
The American Matthew Hoppe explains what it was like to train with Ansu Fati and Konrad de la Fuente in La Masia.
With such little first-team experience – or even a significant record of high-profile youth football and no US national team appearances to date – it is early days to make strong predictions about where Hoppe’s career will ultimately lead.
While a memorable hat-trick (and associated media attention) could put some young players under pressure, the California-born youngster appears to have the mental side of his game in order. The new Schalke coach Christian Gross quickly pointed out his excellent attitude after his impressive performance against Hoffenheim. It was precisely this mentality that prompted Gross to choose Hoppe to start such an important game.
Tor-Kristian Karlsen is a Norwegian soccer scout and manager and former managing director and sports director of AS Monaco. He will write regularly for ESPN about the football business and the scouting process.
That praise is echoed by those who closely watched Hoppe during his early career. His dedication, humility and willingness to learn are second to none and these traits lead to industry and transplantation on the field.
Hoppe’s enthusiasm is contagious; No ball seems ever lost, and his off-the-ball run is carried out with the belief that in addition to his ability to run on the right side of the offside line, it has proven to be crucial against Hoffenheim. Unlike many strikers, he is happy to close opponents to get his urgent jobs done.
While many 19-year-olds appear lanky and thin, Hoppe is neither. His physical strength appears to be well developed, although it will be interesting to see if his potential to dominate in the air can be supported with good directional technique.
After the evidence of the Hoffenheim game, Hoppe seems to have rediscovered his finishing skills from youth football. The first goal – a glorious chip with his weaker left foot (he also scored another with his left) – was not only exquisite in its execution, but also a bold and confident way for a teenager to end an attack.
Jürgen Klinsmann praises Matthew Hoppe after the American teenager’s heroic hat trick for Schalke.
It goes without saying that Hope needs time to develop the facets that can help him become a rounded, complete center-forward. His timing in the air is still a work in progress and his first touch will improve too, as Schalke’s coaching team teach him the importance of holding the ball up, helping the team and causing a nuisance even when he’s not stands in front of the gate
After citing Tottenham’s Harry Kane as his earliest inspiration and having become an admirer of Robert Lewandowski from FC Bayern Munich and especially Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund since arriving in Germany, Hoppe orientates himself on these talented, hardworking stars.
Because of his size and strength, fearless approach and amazing effect, it is inevitable that he will be compared to Haaland in particular. And if, despite his newfound fame, he can continue to demonstrate the Norwegian forward’s work ethic and prudence, Hoppe has the chance to continue to achieve great things.