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Cougar Characters: Thorben Glüsing

Leading the men’s soccer team in goals is something to be proud of, especially as a freshman. Thorben Glüsing, a freshman forward from a village just outside Hamburg, Germany, leads the Cougar offense with five goals scored this season, including two game-winners.

Glüsing was introduced to soccer at the age of 4 when his mother saw a friend in his kindergarten class playing and enjoying one of Germany’s favorite pastimes. “I wanted to participate in sports, too,” Glüsing said.

His mother decided they should give it a try, so they attended a practice, and from that moment on Glüsing has been playing soccer. “It was right for me and I love it,” Glüsing said.

He gives all the credit for his love of the game to his mother. “It was my mother. It’s because of her I am playing soccer,” he said.

Playing soccer for 16 years has provided him with many great experiences and memories. One of Glüsing’s favorite moments occurred last month while playing for MVNU. Living more than 4,000 miles away makes the commute to games a bit difficult for his family, so they support him via the live stream instead. On that particular day his grandparents had driven two hours to his parents’ home to watch the Cougars play the Golden Eagles of Cornerstone University.

In the middle of the second half, Cornerstone committed a foul, giving MVNU a penalty kick. Glüsing was selected to take the shot; he averted the goalie, scored and gained a win for the Cougars. “That was my favorite experience because my whole family was watching and they were proud, and I was too!” Glüsing said.

Though he has had many great experiences and loves to hang out with his new friends, play ping pong, frequent Wendy’s and work out with the soccer team, Glüsing does miss Germany.

“What I really miss is my friends, hanging out and doing stuff,” he said. “I miss them really bad, and I am so excited to go back for Christmas time to see my family, to hang out with my friends and play soccer with them.”

Glüsing said he Skypes often with his friends and parents. “I stay in contact every day,” he said.

Although being so far away from home can be very difficult, Glüsing said he was well received at MVNU.

“I’ve made really good friends and I have my soccer team, so it’s not a problem,” he said.

Still, coming to America was a hard decision. “I wasn’t really sure to do this, and it was getting closer and closer and closer,” he said. “The time came and I thought, is this the right decision? Because this is getting serious.”

When Glüsing made the decision to go to school in the United States, he got involved with an agency that set up a profile to put him in contact with soccer coaches all over the country. One of those contacts was MVNU head coach Andrew Belleman. After getting connected through the agency, the two had many long conversations about the possibility of Glüsing playing for MVNU.

“Thorben, from a playing standpoint is fast, quick and athletic and fits how we want to play. He has a likable good personality and that was something we knew he would do well coming onto the group,” said Belleman.

Glüsing was contacted by multiple schools and coaches, but landed with MVNU and Coach Belleman. “I had a really good talk with Coach Belleman,” Glüsing said. “I really like his philosophy. We talked about his philosophy of growing up as a family. He likes it when the team acts like a family holding together; when we are losing, when we are winning, we are staying together.”

Glüsing has taken on this philosophy, has done very well and Coach Belleman expects him to continue to grow in all aspects of life.

“He just has a likable, funny, goofy personality to him. Even though soccer means a lot to him he is very light hearted. He’s got a lot of ability, a lot of talent, and a lot of passion so I think he could end up being one of the better players that has come through here,” said Belleman.

Glüsing hasn’t just played soccer; he has coached too. After finishing school at Gymnasium, Glüsing took a year off to work as a teaching assistant coaching soccer. “I figured out I really like to work with kids,” Glüsing said.

He is a physical education major who wants to pursue a future working with kids and coaching the game he loves. “I think it is my dream profession,” he said.

Though Glüsing doesn’t know whether he will stay in the U.S. or go back to Germany after graduation, he does enjoy visiting cities in America. The soccer team had the opportunity to travel to the Windy City during preseason.

“It was a great experience because it is all so new,” Glüsing said. “In Germany we have big cities, but not the huge buildings. Chicago was unbelievable. It was fascinating and very impressive.”

Glüsing especially hopes to visit New York City. Seeing it on the screen in Germany was the start of the dream, but seeing it from a distance secured the Big Apple a place on his bucket list. “My first flight was from Hamburg to Newark, New Jersey, and I saw New York from a distance and it was so unbelievable,” Glüsing said. “I watch it on TV and in movies so much in Germany, and I want to visit really, really badly.”

It is obvious Thorben Glüsing is having a grand time on and off the field. You can follow him and the rest of the men’s soccer team as they go into the Crossroads League Tournament on Oct. 31. Details are TBA.

If you have suggestions for student, faculty/staff or alumni features contact Emily Porter ( with a name and a reason why that person should be featured.

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