Jan Hoffelner Wins NPSL Golden Glove In First Season With Duluth FC

37580881_1908446072552463_184976927109414912_n.jpg

The NPSL’s 2018 Golden Glove was awarded to Duluth FC keeper Jan Hoffelner, who’d won conference and regional goalkeeper nominations as well this summer. The award comes as the cherry on top of the young player’s already booming career.

Born and raised in Langen, Germany near Frankfur, Jan Hoffelner’s journey to Duluth FC and the NPSL’s 2018 season is a storied one. Spending his entire youth career in the academies of recent DFB-Pokal winners Eintracht Frankfurt, Hoffelner arrived in the U.S. just over a year ago to begin college, having picked the collegiate path over lower pyramid, semi-pro options in his home nation. He spent his first year of college at Iowa Western, logging 804 minutes and a 7-2 record with 26 saves, a GA average of 0.67, and a save record of 83%. Hoffelner will be playing his next season of collegiate soccer at Presbyterian College in South Carolina.

The son of a former FSV Frankfurt goalkeeper, the passion for the game and the position is in Hoffelner’s blood. Despite a difficult first half of the season for Duluth, the second half brought four clean sheets for the German as his side rocketed into playoff contention. Hoffelner’s cries of celebration would often be the first sound following a Duluth FC victory in 2018. In total, Hoffelner started twelve of Duluth’s fourteen NPSL matches, playing in a thirteenth match as a sub. Jan kept five clean sheets this season and conceded twelve goals through the regular season. He also featured in a US Open Cup (USOC) match against the USL’s Saint Louis FC and played four straight playoff matches.

Of the twelve goals Hoffelner conceded, five came from facing Minneapolis City, the eventual conference champions who went undefeated in the regular season. This means that between the other six opposing clubs in the NPSL North Conference, Hoffelner only conceded seven goals across his other eleven league appearances.

It’s worth noting that it was not originally clear that Hoffelner was going to be Duluth’s starting goalkeeper. Alberto Ciroi- who would earn a reputation for saving penalties -started the club’s first USOC match and Tom Greensall started Duluth’s first league match against Minnesota TwinStars. However, an injury scare for Greensall and strong performances during practice from Hoffelner collided at the right time and led to the German earning the spot through his substitution into that TwinStars match along with starting all but one of Duluth’s remaining matches for the entire season. On top of these factors, 2018 was Hoffelner’s first year playing in the NPSL.

When asked about his experience by the NPSL, Hoffelner had only positive things to say about the team and lower tier soccer in America.“I also really enjoyed playing with my teammates at Duluth FC. We achieved so much this season, which nobody really expected from us. My head coach at Duluth FC, Joel Person, believed in me every single minute and gave me a lot of confidence in every match.”

Hoffelner’s efforts for Duluth FC earned him and his side second place in the NPSL’s North Conference, with a final week clean sheet performance by Hoffelner against Med City giving his side just enough to hold on to their playoff spot, and the Midwest Regional Title, the second such title for Duluth FC and Jan Hoffelner.

- Dominic Jose Bisogno

Lola Vaughn