Reyering Gives Virginia Size and Sophistication
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Yannick Reyering's journey from the German village of Mettingen to Charlottesville began at his computer keyboard.
At age 20, he did not see a future playing for Osnabrueck, a modest soccer club where he had spent four years in the youth system, and came to the realization that education should become his priority. So one night nearly two years ago, he turned on his computer and tapped "college soccer in America" into a search engine.
"I found the NCAA Web site and saw some of the schools," he recalled last week. "I wanted to be on the East Coast and Virginia was one of the best teams."
He began exchanging e-mails with the Cavaliers' coaches, who, intrigued by the prospect of signing a seasoned European to complement their foundation of American players, flew to Germany to see him play.
The trip was well worth it.
Reyering, whose punishing shot is as intimidating as his 6-foot-5 height, has scored 22 goals in two years and will be a closely watched player at the ACC tournament this week at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds.
The Cavaliers, the third seed in the conference and the fifth-ranked team in the Soccer America magazine rankings, will begin their quest for a third ACC title in four years tomorrow with a quarterfinal match against sixth-seeded and ninth-ranked Clemson.
Virginia has had only a few foreign players since Bruce Arena turned the program into a national power 20 years ago, but in Reyering's case, current coach George Gelnovatch saw a unique opportunity.
"He comes from a family where education is pretty important," he said, "and he has a passion for soccer as well."
Reyering grew up in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and often took a 90-minute train ride to watch his favorite Bundesliga club, Borussia Dortmund. As a player, he steadily worked his way up with Osnabrueck, but when the club offered him a professional contract, he turned his attention to the United States.
"I just didn't see a future with Osnabrueck," he said. "It was a good decision because I enjoy it here now. I love the university and the team has been successful."
Reyering's past, though, cost him a year of eligibility. He played three games for Osnabrueck's first team and, although he was not paid for his appearances, the NCAA ruled he would have to sit out his freshman season.