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Hoff makes decision to return to soccer pitch

Minnesota Morris senior John Hoff made his return to the soccer pitch after three successful years as kicker for the Cougar football team. Stevens County Times graphic

University of Minnesota Morris senior John Hoff had a hard decision to make.

The former Cougar football player made a switch from kicking field goals at Big Cat Stadium on Saturdays to playing defense on the soccer field across the south parking lot on the UMM campus.

"It wasn't an overnight decision and wasn't an easy decision to make," Hoff said. "Soccer is something I really enjoy doing and have enjoyed doing my whole life. After three years in football, I started to miss soccer a lot more."

Hoff originally transferred to UMM to play soccer from Christendom College where he played collegiately for three years. Hoff is from Falls Church, Virginia.

"I've played soccer my whole life, since I was little, five years old," Hoff said. "I didn't get recruited for football, I came (to UMM) to play soccer, ironically. At that time, I heard the football team was looking for a kicker, so I signed up for that and that was great."

Great is an understatement. Hoff was the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017. His field goal makes of 46 yards and 42 yards rank second and third in the UMM football record book. Hoff also holds the school record for most points scored by kicking when he scored 15 points against Iowa Wesleyan in his freshman season in 2015.

"It went better than I expected, I didn't think I had that much potential to play football," Hoff said.

Hoff is enjoying his return to the soccer pitch.

"There's a lot less pressure as a soccer player," Hoff said. "As a kicker for football, you get one time to shine. You have to kick it and make it good."

Another big difference he noticed is the conditioning.

"I'm running a lot more," Hoff said of playing 30-plus minutes per game on the soccer field versus when he was kicking in football.

Brooke Kern

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