BERLIN, GERMANY - Back from a short hiatus, Pirate Postcards has returned!
Still the best way to keep up with SHU's student-athletes during the summer months, the latest postcard made its way through customs to SHUPirates.com via women's soccer player Marie Klemme (Berlin, Germany) who has been spending her off-months across the Atlantic in her home nation of Germany.
With the official start of the new season less than a month away, there is no shortage of reasons to be excited about the Pirates on the pitch in 2012-13.
The team enters the new year on the heels of one of the most successful years in program history. In 2011-12, SHU made its mark on both the conference and regional levels. The squad posted eight regular season victories, finishing fourth in the BIG EAST National Division and earning a berth in the BIG EAST Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Playing host to a postseason match for just the second time in school history, the Pirates upended St. John's, 1-0, on the strength of a thrilling 89th minute goal from senior tri-captain Ashley Beamish (Buffalo, N.Y.). The win snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Red Storm and vaulted SHU into the conference quarterfinals for the first time since 1999.
A team with the flair for the dramatic, the Pirates pulled out a number of wins against prominent programs, establishing themselves as a regional power. With positive results in their first three games, the Pirates cracked the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) regional rankings for the first time since 1998, coming in at number nine in the Northeast. The Pirates made a number of appearances in the poll throughout the season, rising to as high as fifth and finishing as the ninth rated team in the region following the final poll of the season.
Klemme, a rising junior, is part of a loaded class that has played a large role in the team's improvement during their first two years on campus. The 2012-13 team boasts six juniors that are at the heart of an experienced core for the Pirates that is focused on elevating the program to national prominence.
Together, Brittney Albrecht (Mahwah, N.J.), Ashley Clarke (Paramus, N.J.), Meghan Hayes (Fredon, N.J.), Klemme, Katie Ritter (Hagerstown, Md.) and Amie Ruhe (Monrovia, Md.) combined to make a total of 221 of a possible 228 appearances as underclassmen.
For her part, Klemme has been a vital presence in the midfield for the Pirates throughout her first two campaigns. The Berlin native has played in 36 of 38 games in her career, while compiling 27 starts. During her freshman season, she appeared in 17 of 18 games, highlighted by her first career point, an assist during a road victory over Cornell. As a sophomore, she again played in all but one contest, getting the starting nod in 17 of 19 appearances and finishing among the team leaders in minutes played.
Recently, Klemme reached out to SHUPirates.com to share her hopes for next season, an update how she is keeping busy abroad and provide a unique perspective on one of the world's largest sporting events, The UEFA European Football Championships, which took place earlier this summer.
Hello Pirate Fans -
Summer is off to a great start at home here in Berlin, Germany.
Looking back to last year, our team had a great season, we worked hard to get better each and every day and I am very proud of everything we accomplished. However, we do not want to rest on what we achieved last season. Over the summer, all of us will be working hard so that we can step up our game and progress even further the upcoming season. Our goal is to keep up the work and continue to improve. I feel honored to be a part of this team and I cannot wait to step back on the field with my teammates.
Over break, I do everything to keep myself in shape and get ready for the season. I like to be active and take part in a variety of activities that are different from our typical workouts but still help me to get fit, like slack-lining or beach volleyball. Unfortunately, there is no soccer season during the time I am at home in Germany. Therefore, I do not have the opportunity to practice with a team on a regular basis. In order to still compete with others in a game, I play a lot of pick-up with girls from my former club team and practice with boys who are being coached by a good family friend. Other than that, I go on runs and bicycle tours in order to keep up my endurance. Working out on my own, has advantages and disadvantages. While I wish I could practice more often with a team or a partner, summer really is the time where I can focus just on myself, a time where I can set my own focal points and goals for the upcoming season.
Other than that, I work a lot at an indoor soccer arena, where I help out in a restaurant and coach kids, between 6 and 15 years old whenever there is a camp. It is a great opportunity to share my experience and love for the game with some future soccer stars, showing up every day with enthusiasm for soccer. These kids are so talented and motivated that working with them is a lot of fun. Beside working on their technique and comprehension of tactics, we try to incorporate fun games such as Mini World Cup and ascertain the technique champ of each camp.
Talking about soccer, there is one major thing that I should not forget to mention; the EURO 2012. By far, soccer is the most popular sport in Germany and therefore everyone gets super excited whenever the national team steps on the field. German fans are full of passion and soccer is definitely the most crowded sport. During big tournaments, our country puts on public viewing stations for everyone to watch our nation play. The most popular place to go to is the "Berlin Fan Mile", where up to half a million people watch the games and cheer for our team. I attended two of these events and was able to enjoy the amazing atmosphere together with some of my close friends.
This year, the German team had a good start but I have to admit that we weren't on top of our game. In the semi-final against Italy, our defense was too sloppy and we didn't take any of the great chances we created. Nevertheless, the final match between Italy and Spain was a great game to watch. Italy tried their best but in the end, Spain once again succeeded deservedly with their great technical ability and accurate passing. After the EURO2012, I am already looking forward to cheer for the German national team in the next major event.
Beside soccer and work, I simply enjoy being at home with my family and friends. As busy as everyone is, and as rarely we see each other, we always try to make the reunions special ones. I love Berlin, it is a wonderful city where the modern cosmopolitan world meets the culturally rich side of Germany. The city never sleeps and it is a great place to be. The many fun activities, historical museums, art galleries and coffee shops along the rivers make Berlin to an attractive destination for people from all over the world. I always am happy to come back and have a good German dish or a barbecue at the lake with my friends. I will always be rooted in German culture, but I also enjoy the American lifestyle.
I am so fortunate to be able to spend my year in two different countries. The last two years really have been a blessing and I am thankful for the great opportunity of going to this college. I love being a part of this wonderful team and school which became my new family and America my second home.
Thank you to all those who continue to support and believe in us...Go Pirates!
With a number of players returning who, like Marie, have gained extensive experience early in their SHU careers, and an infusion of new talent, there is no question that the Pirates are poised to build on the success of last season.
The women's soccer program kicks-off the 2012-13 calendar for SHU Athletics when they host Fordham on Saturday, August 11 in an exhibition match. On Friday, August 17, Seton Hall will start regular season competition when they welcome Long Island University to South Orange.
Start-time for both matches is slated for 7 p.m. from Owen T Carroll Field.
Check back soon on SHUPirates.com for another Pirate Postcard!
Past Pirate Postcards: