It has been a season to forget for men’s soccer, but the final senior goalkeeper Thor Arne Höfs will be remembered for his marks in the record book.
In his final game between the pipes for the Colonials, Höfs made one final impression on the program, collecting six saves in GW’s season closer against Massachusetts to move into fourth place for all-time career saves with 264.
In his four years at GW – including three years starting – Höfs set the program record for career shutouts with 21 and single-season shutouts with nine while cracking into the top-five for career saves.
Höfs led the team from the goal for four years and this season marks the first in his tenure that the team has not made the postseason.
Jones said he first recruited Höfs in Germany and “knew how good he potentially could be.”
But Höfs committed to GW without knowing much of anything about the University, the soccer program or collegiate life in general, he said. When he traveled to D.C. for preseason on the eve of his freshman year, it was the first time he had stepped on U.S. soil.
“I had no clue what college soccer, college life would be like here,” Höfs said. “I just came here to try to learn English, get a degree and try to play.”
The Colonials won the Atlantic 10 regular season title in Höfs’ first year at GW. He started seven matches as a freshman and showed promise, ranking fifth in the A-10 averaging 4.14 saves per game.
Despite the team’s success, the language barrier prevented Höfs from being even more successful.
“Some people I couldn’t really talk to them for a month, probably,” Höfs said. “I was kind of avoiding them and that probably cut into my playing time my freshman year because of communication.”
Höfs enjoyed a breakout year during his sophomore campaign that saw him set a program record with nine clean sheets and lead the A-10 in both save percentage and goals allowed per game. Höfs earned A-10 All-Academic Team honors for the first time in his career after that season.
Last season, Höfs tallied a league-leading 93 saves and helped lead his team to a third-seed ranking in the A-10 Championship. Höfs did not concede a single goal while playing at home in the regular season.
With so many highlights in his time as the Colonials’ goalkeeper, there is a lot for Höfs to be proud of, but breaking the career clean sheets record holds a special place in his memory.
“Breaking the record of the most clean sheets was a big accomplishment because that was something that I achieved with my team,” Höfs said. “I’m obviously proud of that and hope that record stays for a bit.”
Off the field, the German works as hard as anyone to keep improving his game, always arriving first to practice and putting in extra work outside of team activities, Jones said.
“We can all talk game but with him he walks the walk, talks the talk, he does it all, not just on the field but off the field,” Jones said.
Freshman defender Marcelo Lage said he learned to trust his instincts on the field watching Höfs play and said his shot-stopping will be missed next season on the field.
“He’s been a great goalie, always rock-solid,” Lage said. “I know I can always trust him.”
Lage was the only Colonial to start all 17 games for GW in the backline.
Höfs’ departure leaves a major void that will prove difficult to fill for Jones. Junior Noah Lubin and sophomore Evan Cameron are the other rostered goalkeepers but both have yet to see minutes on the field.
“They’ve worked hard this year,” Jones said. “We might look to bring in another keeper but at this stage it’s probably to evaluate what’s just gone wrong.”
As for Höfs, he has his sights set on a professional playing career in the United States or back home in Europe and wants build upon his career anchoring the backline as a Colonial, he said.
“I’m gonna go back to Europe and try to find a team, try to talk to people and see if I can get some tryouts with some teams,” Höfs said. “If it doesn’t work out, I have the degree from here and I can still study my master’s degree somewhere in Germany.”
Jones said Höfs “does it all” on the field while still supporting his team off the field, and he will be missed.
“He doesn’t hide, it’s all out there,” Jones said. “I wish every kid could be like him to be honest.”