Garrett Pochop named IIAC Offensive Player of the Week

by Matt Lash, Special to The Simpsonian

Junior Garrett Pochop is a busy guy.

He’s an economics and business administration double major, an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and co-captain of the men’s soccer team. He currently leads the IIAC in goals for the season and was recently named Offensive Player of the Week by the Iowa Conference — the first time in his career.

Pochop, like most Simpson students, has unique story. In high school, he was an all-around athlete. Although he played football, basketball and soccer throughout his high school career, Pochop chose to pursue his favorite sport, soccer.

“I didn’t even hear about Simpson until just before I was about to make my decision on where to play soccer,” Pochop said. “I did some research on the school and got in contact with Coach Isaacson to come for an official visit. After visiting the campus and meeting the team, I knew that Simpson was the school for me.”

Pochop found himself struggling to keep up with things he was involved in during his first year at Simpson. However, once the soccer season started, he was able to make connections and gain the skills needed to be a successful student-athlete. More recently, Pochop found himself playing a different role on the pitch.

Until this season he had been playing attacking midfielder. This season, Pochop is playing a bigger role on the team: center forward.

“As a central forward for our team, my job is to make a statistical impact and score goals,” Pochop said. “The goals we are scoring are a total team effort, and I am just ending up on the receiving end of the goals.”

Pochop is hoping his efforts will help his team advance further in the IIAC tournament than a season ago.

“Last season the team finished in a disappointing fashion. This season we have high expectations, and the team is putting in the effort to reap some great rewards,” Pochop said. “Our biggest goal is obviously to win the IIAC tournament and earn a spot in the national tournament.”

After a slow start to the season last year, the team finished 9-9-3, losing in the semifinals of the IIAC tournament.

“We are all fighting for the same goal with a lot of heart. This year’s team is a unified group that I am proud to be a part of.”

Like with any athlete preparation is key.

“I think my mindset going in to each game has allowed me to step up in game time,” Pochop said. “Our coaching staff set lofty individual goals for me at the beginning of the season, and I definitely do not want to let them and my teammates down. I want to work as hard as a can for my teammates to put us a position to win every game. I know my teammates are fighting for the same goal so it is easy to compete alongside them.”

With this in mind, Pochop and his teammates are stepping up tremendously when the game is on the line.

“Not only has he shouldered the burden of being our primary goal scoring option, but he’s also a great leader and serves as one of our team captains,” head coach Rick Isaacson said. “He sets a great example for our younger players to follow.  He has maintained outstanding grades while excelling on the soccer field.”