Sophomore midfielder emerges as leading goal scorer


by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

In high school, Garrett Pochop wasn’t much of a scorer.

People recommended that he should try to be a kicker in college because there was more money in football. In fact, the sophomore midfielder didn’t even play soccer at his high school for two years but played club instead.

“In high school, I wasn’t asked to score the goals really,” Pochop said. “I never scored, and this year I’m the leading goal scorer. So it’s something I’ve never done.”

But now, Pochop has become an integral part of the Storm’s offense.

So far, even the focal point as he is leading the team in goals with four and is tied for the team lead in points with nine.

“Garrett is a big part of our attack, and we are at our best when we filter play through our center-mids,” head coach Rick Isaacson said.

So far, Pochop has capitalized on a heightened role in the offense with the graduation of the all-time goal scoring champion at Simpson, Mitchell White.

In the Iowa Conference statistical leaderboard, Pochop ranks tied for third in points and goals. More importantly, the Storm is undefeated, 3-0-1, when he scores.

“Thankfully he has been able to score for us this year, as he has been the glue to our attack,” junior captain Josh Harry said.

Pochop is one a handful of out-of-state players on the men’s soccer team and one of two from South Dakota.

Coming out of T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre, South Dakota, a highly regarded school in the state, Pochop looked at other Midwestern schools, such as Nebraska Wesleyan University and Luther College, but he wasn’t highly recruited by Isaacson at Simpson.

The relationship grew by chance.

“I found Simpson by chance, contacted Rick and he seemed like a really good coach and a nice guy,” Pochop said. “I asked him for a visit and it seemed like Simpson was the best fit for me.”

While having to become more technical and more efficient on the field, Pochop’s game has translated well into college.

Playing high school soccer wasn’t really a prerequisite for a smooth transition either, as Pochop focused on football and basketball through the high school but club play for soccer – always his passion, regardless of what people said otherwise.

“I always had my mind made up and wanted to play collegiate soccer,” Pochop said.

He was an all-state kicker for the football team his junior and senior year and led the basketball team to the state championship as a senior in 2013.

On the club soccer level, Pochop did led the US Club team to the national title in 2013.

Fellow SAE brother Harry was helpful in the transition to college on a personal level for the then-freshman, Pochop.

“It’s a good relationship,” Harry said. “We can talk about anything pretty much. I was one of the first people he reached out to…and ever since then it’s their relationship has blossomed.”

Described as a hard-worker with a steady head, a valuable trait for an economics major, Pochop has established himself as a backbone for the Simpson offense and a young group of players that hope to bring Simpson men’s soccer success going forward.

“Garret will continue to be a big part of our attack,” Isaacson said. “What you’re seeing is sophomores that are playing like seniors.”