Matthew Hoppe Profile

Name Matthew Hoppe
Born Mar 13, 2001
Age 20 years
Birthplace Yorba Linda, California
Height 6ft 3ins

Matthew Hoppe is an American forward who gained instant cult status at German club Schalke 04 with a hat-trick versus Hoffenheim in 2021.

Hoppe's three goals in the 4-0 win against Hoffenheim prevented Schalke from matching the Bundesliga record for the most consecutive games without a win.

Southern Californian native Hoppe joined the Royal Blues in 2019 after playing for FC Barcelona's USA Academy in Arizona. Hoppe added to the growing US contingent in the Bundesliga which includes Dortmund's Gio Reyna, Werder Bremen's Josh Sargant, RB Leipzig's Tyler Adams and Chris Richards of Bayern Munich.

Hoppe follows the trail blazed at the Gelsenkirchen club by Texas-born Weston McKennie, who left Schalke to join Juventus on loan at the start of the season.

Trans-Atlantic Hoppe also charts a route taken by fellow American west-coasters Alex Mendez and Ulysses Llanez, who have featured for Freiburg and Wolfsburg respectively.

US schooling

The striker grew up in the youth systems of LA Galaxy and Strikers FC in Irvine California, before catching the eye of FC Barcelona. Hoppe joined the FC Barcelona Residency Academy in 2017 and was trained by Barca coaches at the Grande Sports World campus in Casa Grande Arizona.

Students at Barcelona's Arizona facility stay full-time on a campus that features eight pitches, sports nutrition provision, a high school and a 58,000 square foot state-of-the-art training base.

Goals flowed for the Barcelona Academy as Hoppe netted 29 goals in 23 games in Arizona during 2018/19. He had committed to joining San Diego University but soccer in the Ruhr region proved too much to resist as Schalke offered him a trial in Germany.

Joining Schalke

Hoppe's emergence at Schalke proved to be a slow process as he took time to adapt to the German game after being signed by the Veltins Arena club in 2019. He scored just once for Schalke's second team before being promoted to the first eleven in November 2020.

His ascension to Schalke's first team came with a touch of luck too after striker Vedad Ibisevic was released and fellow forwards Goncalo Paciencia and Rabbi Matondo struggled with injury and form.

Hoppe signed his first professional contract with Schalke in February 2021. The deal runs until the end of the 2022/23 season.

First Bundesliga hat-trick

The young American went goalless for 214 minutes in the Bundesliga prior to the match with Hoffenheim but his new manager, Christian Gross, stuck with him.

It was fourth time lucky for rock-bottom Schalke, who made the former Tottenham boss their fourth manager of the season in December 2020.

Hoppe proved the star of the show, putting in a performance of power and poise as he notched a hat-trick to drag Schalke off the bottom of the table. His first goal, on 41 minutes, saw Hoppe race onto a through ball to chip the ball beautifully over Oliver Baumann with his left foot. Next came a second just after half time as Hoppe was live to another Amine Harit through ball, with the American forward dropping a shoulder and cutting the ball home after rounding Baumann.

In the 63rd minute Hoppe tore through the Hoffenheim back line before connecting with Harit's hat-trick assist to clip home with the outside of his right boot. The Veltins Arena was empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic but Hoppe would have received a standing ovation for the feat in normal circumstances.

The hat-trick in the 4-0 demolition of Hoffenheim spared Schalke's blushes as they were on course to match Tasmania Berlin's record of 31 matches without a win in the Bundesliga.

Despite Hoppe's best efforts, though, Schalke were unable to prevent themselves from what seemed like an unthinkable relegation, and he has now found himself linked with a move away from the stricken German club.

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