Name: Julian Ringhof
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Language(s): German, English
“Hi Toreros! My name is Julian Ringhof and I was a student-athlete and international student at USD and graduated in Mechanical Engineering in December. But for now I left the engineering world behind. Growing up in Germany I started playing soccer when I was four years old. My entire family has always been very passionate about sports and becoming a professional athlete had always been a dream of mine. However, knowing that an athletic career doesn’t last forever and could come to a sudden end because of injuries I didn’t want to chase that dream at cost of a good education. So after going to university in Germany for one year while playing soccer semi-professionally I decided to transfer to a school in the United States to become a student-athlete. The college sports system in the US presented a great opportunity of keeping the dream of potentially becoming a pro athlete alive while receiving a great education on an athletic scholarship. A compromise the European college system doesn’t provide.
Unfortunately my path to USD was a little longer and more complicated than it could have been. My first two years I went to a state school in Los Angeles. Even though I had a great time at Cal State LA it became clear to me that for both a better soccer program and a better academic institution I needed to transfer. Transferring as a student-athlete however, is a rather complicated. I don’t want to go into details but it was quite the risk to ask for a release from my old school and potentially losing my entire athletic scholarship in order to reach out for other schools. Just coming back from an ankle surgery and not being able to train at the time made the process of finding an athletic scholarship at a better school even more complicated. Luckily Seamus McFadden, the head coach of the soccer program at USD, took the chance and offered me a transfer to USD to become a Torero. All it took for me was one visit to the beautiful USD campus and I knew this was where I wanted to go.
What followed were the best two and a half years of my life. I assume most of you don’t take the opportunity of studying at USD for granted but believe me being able to compare it to a regular state school made me appreciate it even more. The family-like atmosphere among students, professors, coaches and administration is what makes USD such a unique experience. The sense of community on campus is something that most European universities and many commuter schools in the US such as my first school do not have. This sense of community is why I call USD home and why friendships with teammates and classmates at USD will last a lifetime. It’s only been a few months since I graduated but I already miss being a student-athlete at USD.
But as sad as it is that this chapter is over now the career opportunities that I have thanks to USD is more than I could have dreamed of when I first decided to come to the US. At a USD career fair my senior year I was offered a job by Solar Turbines, an international subsidiary of Caterpillar and arguably one of the best engineering companies in San Diego. And the job I was offered was exactly what I wanted my first job to be like: travel around the world for engineering projects.
However, I ended up not taking the job. This is because I was able to make my dream come true and become a professional soccer player. Two weeks ago I signed a contract with the Rochester Rhinos in New York to play pro soccer in the United States. Still understanding that an athletic career is limited to a few years the only reason I’m taking this chance of playing in the second tier of American soccer is because I have a degree in engineering from USD in my back pocket, the best career safety valve I could imagine. I’m sure sooner or later I will return to the engineering world.
So what can I say; I don’t think this journey of coming to the US and transferring to USD as a student-athlete could have turned out any better. Yes, it was a lot of hard work and being on the soccer team while earning a degree in engineering required a lot of sacrifice. But thanks to my friends, family, professors, coaches, the great support of the International Office and maybe some good German efficiency and time management the last two and half years were incredibly fulfilling and pure joy. Thank you USD and GO TOREROS!”