Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 34
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
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(Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

BULL RUN: Teddy Schneider dribbles up the field last fall in his senior season with the Princeton University men’s soccer team. Schneider, who earned second-team All-Ivy League honors in helping the Tigers to the 2010 league title, is currently playing with the reserve team of the NY Red Bulls of Major League Soccer (MLS).

Former PU Soccer Star Schneider Feeling at Home, Starting Professional Career With Red Bulls of MLS

Bill Alden

Growing up in nearby Califon, Teddy Schneider distinguished himself as one of the top schoolboy players in New Jersey, earning second-team all-state honors in his final two seasons at the Delbarton School.

Schneider stayed in the Garden State for his college career, heading south to Princeton University where he emerged as a mainstay for the Tiger men’s squad.

The savvy 5’6, 130 pound defender helped Princeton to NCAA appearances in his final two seasons of college soccer, highlighted by the Tigers’ superb 2010 season which saw them go 7-0 in Ivy League play.

Schneider’s soccer reputation in his home state caught the eye of another local side, the NY Red Bulls of Major League Soccer (MLS), who are based in Harrison, N.J.

The club signed Schneider to a contract this past spring and he has been getting introduced to the pro game by playing for the Red Bulls reserve team.

For Schneider, staying in New Jersey for the next stop in his soccer career has been special.

“I have been following the MLS since I was a kid,” said Schneider, noting that he started as a fan of the NY/NJ Metro Stars, as the franchise was known before it was sold to the Red Bull GmbH company in 2006.

“It is nice that my friends and family can come to the games. I am extremely happy and excited. It is something I have always wanted to do.”

It has been exciting for Schneider to get on the pitch with the Red Bulls, whose roster includes such internationals stars as Thierry Henry of France, Dane Richards of Jamaica and Rafa Marquez of Mexico in addition to rising U.S. star Tim Ream.

“It is awesome to train with these guys, I was intimidated at first with the world class guys but I learned that they are really friendly guys, really helpful,” said Schneider, who had to postpone his final semester at Princeton in order to take part in Red Bulls’ training.

Seeing action in reserve games has helped Schneider get up to speed on the pro level.

“The reserve games are high quality, all the players are trying to be on the first team so they are playing their best,” said Schneider, who has been playing left back and left midfield.

“I have definitely learned a lot. You have to make quicker decisions, the game is quicker. If you make a mistake you can get punished. Every play counts; I have improved since I got there.”

Schneider is proud of how Princeton improved over his four years with the program as it went from 5-10-1 overall and 3-4 in Ivy play record in 2007 to 13-4-1 and 7-0 in league action last fall.

Coming into 2010, Schneider thought the Tigers could do some special things.

“We were looking to have a successful season; we knew we had a good team,” said Schneider. “We hadn’t won the Ivy League since I had been there so we were looking to win that and get into NCAA again.”

Although the Tigers started last fall with a 1-3-1 record, Schneider’s confidence didn’t waver.

“We were a good enough team to turn things around, that start was a little bit of a wake-up call for us,” said Schneider.

“Out invitational was a turning point, we beat two pretty good teams (Richmond and Adelphi). That gave us momentum going into the Ivy League. We realized we could beat every team on the rest of our schedule.”

The Tigers proceeded to produce one of the greatest stretches in program history, winning 12 straight games, running the table in the Ivies and rising to No. 10 in the national rankings.

“It was really something special; the league is so even,” said Schneider, reflecting on the team’s brilliant play down the home stretch.

“I had not seen any other team do that. We didn’t take anything for granted; we knew that we had to work hard every day.”

Schneider put in some good work individually at right back, helping to anchor the Tiger back line and coming up the field to provide an offensive spark.

“I got to take free kicks and was involved in set pieces,” said Schneider, who tallied a goal and five assists last fall. I was playing balls into good players like Josh [Walburn], Matt [Sanner], and Antoine [Hoppenot] and they finished things.”

While Schneider was proud to earn all-league recognition, winning the league title was the most meaningful honor that came his way last fall.

“It definitely means a lot,” said Schneider of his All-Ivy honor which capped a career that saw him total seven goals and eight assists. “Personal accolades are not as important, winning the Ivy was mostly what I wanted to do and that was the most important.”

Princeton’s success drew the attention of pro organizations. “I was not cognizant that they were looking at me, “ said Schneider, referring to the Red Bulls. “We knew teams were looking at us since we had had such a successful season.”

Now Schneider is focusing on helping the Red Bulls experience success. “I am trying to help the team any way I can,” asserted Schneider.

“I want to make first team and get my shot in a game. I would like to play as long as I can. This has always been a dream of mine.”

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