- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
By JAMES A. McCRAY III
Eye-popping numbers such as 15 goals and 17 assists in his senior season and 34 goals and 43 assists in his career were just the tip of the iceberg.
After being a four-year varsity starter, two-year team captain, playing in the Maryland All-State game in late November and being named The Enterprise All-County boys soccer Athlete of the Year and being named to the all-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference first team, it was not a matter of where St. Mary's Ryken's Nicholas Staufenberger would play collegiate soccer, just a matter of when he would commit.
Staufenberger's commitment has been given to Washington College (Md.) and he will continue to play soccer at the college level.
“I am very excited and it is something I have always wanted to do,” Staufenberger said of playing college soccer. “As I started moving up to higher levels of teams, it just became a goal and something I wanted to do go to the next level of my playing career.”
Washington College head coach Drew Hoffman said he knew of Staufenberger via his club soccer team, Freestate, as Hoffman heads a team within the club.
Hoffman and Staufenberger exchanged emails and, after viewing Hoffman play in a tournament this winter, Hoffman eventually offered Staufenberger a roster spot, a spot the senior accepted.
“I really liked the school, it's really nice,” Staufenberger said. “It's not too far away from home, but it's just far enough. I've known the coach for a while now, he coaches at the club I play for, so he has seen me play a lot. After the emails, I sent him a résumé telling him about my senior stats.”
The midfielder, despite coming off his best high school season this past fall, said he wants to continue to improve, realizing that he is stepping up a level in soccer. He understands that it will take more than just playing well to continue his successes.
“I just always wanted to get better,” Staufenberger said. “You can't be complacent with yourself and you always have to keep getting better. I just have to keep working harder and harder.
“Nothing is guaranteed and I will have to keep working for a starting spot, keep working every day to help the team out.”
Aside from his aspirations to continue working hard, he also has on-the-field goals for his upcoming freshman year with the NCAA Division III Shoremen of Washington College, located in Chestertown on the Eastern Shore.
“I'd like to contribute to the team [right] away,” Staufenberger admitted. “I would like to start, and that's no guarantee, but that is something I can work toward and hopefully by the end of the season I will be starting.”
Staufenberger said Hoffman informed the player that he would remain at the midfield position, outside midfield. And, despite that being his natural position, Staufenberger still will have to adjust to the collegiate game and collegiate athlete.
“The biggest change in the college game will be the physicality,” Staufenberger said. “The players are a lot bigger and run a lot faster.”
And despite having more career assists than goals in high school, when asked what was better between scoring a goal and assisting on a goal, Staufenberger replied with a small laugh, “I always like scoring a goal.”