- Arts & Life
Shane Recklet, a former four-year starter and captain for the Quinnipiac men’s soccer team, has taken his game from Bobcat nation across the Atlantic Ocean where his talents have landed him a professional soccer contract.
Recklet is currently playing in Germany for the German pro club SV Germania 90 Schoneiche of the 5th Bundesliga, and was recently named captain of his team.
The journey to becoming a professional soccer player in Europe was not an easy one.
Upon graduating in 2010, Recklet tried out for a few United Soccer League teams, which are essentially the minor leagues of the MLS. However, Recklet was unable to make any of those squads but knew he still wanted to play professionally.
“One of my friends said he knew a guy that was coaching a team in the Connecticut Soccer League, and the guy was a German agent who sent American players to Germany,” Recklet said. “So I went to try out for the team, ended up playing half a season for him and then he offered to bring me to Germany for some tryouts in January.”After trying out for several teams in Sweden, Norway and Berlin, Recklet was finally offered a contract by SV Germania. For many players, playing the sport they love professionally is a dream come true, but for Recklet it wasn’t something he always thought about.
“While I was in school, I didn’t really know what to expect for after graduation,” Recklet said. “I didn’t really think it was possible to be completely honest. Then I remember I had a talk with coach after my sophomore season and he told me I should start thinking about going for it, and thats when I really started to focus on the possibility and started telling myself that that’s what I’m going to do. And then in my senior year, I was meeting with coach a lot and he was doing everything he can to try and get me looks from professional scouts or try outs for after the season.”
Although Recklet was unsure where he wanted to take his career following Quinnipiac, head coach Eric Da Costa already considered him a professional.
“The truth is he was already a pro when he was here. The way he approached training, the way he took criticism, his eagerness to be coached, his desire to improve, everything about him was professional,” Da Costa said. “I always felt that if he remained committed and someone gave him a chance it would happen for him.”
With seven years of coaching under his belt, as well as four years playing experience at Quinnipiac himself, Da Costa knows talent when he sees it.
“Shane was the picture of professionalism. His approach to training was always consistent. He showed great leadership and always brought tremendous energy and a high work rate to every training session,” Da Costa said. “As a staff we always knew exactly what to expect out of his performances. As a result he was a permanent fixture in our starting lineup and the backbone of our team over the course of his four year career.”
At Quinnipiac, the Shelton, Conn. native was a two-time All-NEC Second Team selection. Recklet was also a captain his junior and senior seasons and led the team to its first NEC Tournament championship game. Recklet finished his Quinnipiac career with 19 points and started 69 of 71 games he played in.
“Shane was a great player that had potential to be a game changer. Everyone felt more comfortable when he was playing on the field knowing that he was defending behind us,” senior forward Durval Pereira said. “He was one of those players that put in effort day in and day out and was always ready to play.”
Recklet played under a great coaching staff at Quinnipiac which helped him to learn how to enjoy the game and still play it competitively.
“Playing under coach Da Costa was definitely one of the reasons why I had such a great experience playing at Quinnipiac. The great thing about coach was that he knew there was a time for work, and a time to have fun,” Recklet said. “I will never forget, it was my sophomore year and we were in preseason, and we were having a 6 v 6 tournament in the rain. Coach was playing on my team and we won in the championship game. There was a puddle about the size of a swimming pool right next to our field, and coach was the first one to go sliding head first right through the puddle to celebrate our win. We all worked hard together, but he also knew how important it was to enjoy playing the game as well. It was awesome.”
The now German pro learned much under Da Costa and the Quinnipiac coaching staff, but most important to him was being able to be confident with the ball and retain possession even as a defender. That’s the way he likes to play the game and Da Costa helped him hone in on that skill.
With SV Germania, Recklet went from an unsigned player to a everyday starter to later being promoted as the team’s captain within a year of playing for the team.
Recklet, whose first language is English, is now the leader of a German speaking squad.
“To be completely honest, I was a little nervous at first. I’m still not speaking the language perfectly, and I didn’t know how all of the players would react,” Recklet said. “I know there are a handful of guys that have been on the team for a couple years and would have liked the opportunity to become captain.”
Recklet hopes to move up from the 5th Bundesliga and knows that this will be his last season with the team. But for now, he is focusing on being the best player and leader that he can be.
“I think it has been helping me grow as a player as well,” Recklet said. “It forces me to challenge myself and step up even more as a leader on the field, not only with my playing but vocally as well, which I think will help me in the long run.”
Current senior on the men’s soccer team, Matthew Rothbart, played alongside Recklet in the Bobcat backfield and also played against his former captain in high school.
“Shane is a natural leader because he is a true player and him being promoted to captain is what he deserves,” Rothbart said. “He is a player that others can look to because he always has the right mindset and when his teammates follow what he does it can only help the team. Playing with him at school I felt this exact way.”
Recklet is planning to leave his current team at the end of the year and look for a spot on in a higher Bundesliga or division in Germany.
“Right now everything is still up in the air with what happens next. I know that this will be my last season with the club, and I know I want to move up, so I’m doing everything I can to prepare myself for that,” Recklet said. “I’m sort of back to square 1 in a sense because in the summer I will be back to doing tryouts and trying to make it at another level. So we will see what happens, but I’m excited and ready for it.”