Creighton forward Fabian Herbers made for the latest arrival into the new generation Adidas class, his signing announced only this past Friday, January 9. The Germany native arrived at the 2016 adidas MLS Player Combine after the first round of games, playing for the first time on Team Ace the next day.
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In 65 minutes of action, the MAC Hermann Trophy finalist and two-time Big East Offensive Player of the Year still managed to make a mark. Here are 10 other essential things to know about a player expected to go high in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft.
A country boy at heart
… western German country:
"I grew up in Ahaus. It’s a countryside area, with not a lot going on there, I guess, but I feel very comfortable there.”
Athletics don’t really run in his family
Between his parents, older sister and extended family, no one else has played sports seriously:
"My dad used to play soccer in a local club, but not a really high level. I guess I don’t really have any athletes in my family, so they are very proud.”
Still, he ascended elite youth ranks quickly
"My town was close to the Netherlands, so I played there in the highest youth academy for six years—so I speak fluent Dutch. Then I finished high school back in Germany while playing for a college team, and then I got picked up for college three years ago.”
And credits the Dutch system for truly developing
… his style of play.
"The Netherlands is a small country, but a huge soccer country with a great history. The youth development is very good. I think I probably most developed the technical skill to pass the ball, everything with the ball – not the physical, athletic stuff.”
But it wasn’t enough to keep him in Europe
"I was attracted by the combination of soccer and school. In Germany, you cannot do that. You either play on a semi-professional or professional level, but if you don’t make it, you’re screwed.
"Or you go to university, but then you have to give up soccer. I didn’t want to give up either one, so I applied for colleges here. If you don’t make it soccer, then you still have your school, right? I was studying international business before I signed with Generation adidas.”
Adjusting to US college life proved difficult
… both off and on the field:
"My biggest challenge was my freshman year, to get adjusted to a new language, a new environment, coming from the countryside and going to a city [Omaha, NE]. A lot of stuff is going on, and getting adjusted was hard; I had to take classes like theology and philosophy with a lot of reading in English, which is not very easy for an international student.
"It took my freshman year to get adjusted to the style of play too, because it’s really a little bit more rough, and physical, and athletic. Playing is not as technical as I used to have it in the Netherlands or Germany, but I adjusted pretty quick after my freshman year, and got a lot better my sophomore and junior years. I scored a lot of goals, had a lot of assists, and we had a pretty good team there, so it was fun to play for sure.
"Luckily, I had two German teammates too, Vincent Keller and Timo Pitter; [the latter] came to the Combine too. They helped me get adjusted at Creighton and they’re very good friends of mine.”
His first MLS love was Sporting KC
"Omaha, where the university is, is pretty close to Kansas City – about three hours – so I’ve watched some Sporting Kansas City games. It was interesting to see. It’s a nice stadium, for sure. It’s pretty modern and new, and it’s a very, very good crowd, with a good atmosphere. I like that."
And you've got no chance in FIFA
"In my free time I like to play EA SPORTS FIFA 16. I’m the best. Nobody can beat me. I like playing with German teams – Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich.”
He’s crystal-clear on his style of play
"I’m an attacking player for sure. I like holding the ball, making runs off the ball. I like to give the final pass. I have a lot of assists, but I also like scoring a lot. I have a lot of speed too; I’m a good finisher and good at set pieces.”
And how he could fit into MLS
"I think the league is pretty fast, too, and I’m a fast player. I think, basically, I’ll connect my passes and give the other players an opportunity to score. And me, myself, I’m a good finisher, as I said, so I feel comfortable scoring in the league as well.”