Just a few years ago, Owensboro native Luke Stauffer was playing soccer at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Now, he’s signed yet another professional contract in Germany as he’ll suit up for FC Carl Zeiss Jena.
Stauffer said it felt like the club always had a path for him.
“The first time Jena reached out and spoke to me they outlined a clear plan for me within the team as well as the ambitions for the club,” he said. “It was awesome speaking with like-minded people as myself as well as them being extremely driven so ultimately I decided that this was the best place for me.”
Stauffer played for several clubs in the United States before making the move to Germany in 2019 when he signed with Wacker Nordhausen, where he made 17 appearances.
Even though he’s had success, Stauffer said it’s still great to continue his dream.
“Feels absolutely fantastic,” he said of the signing. “Especially with so much uncertainty in our world today and with mine being sport, a lot of players who were in my position are struggling to find a club and lock down a contract. With the transfer window being very long this year in Germany, clubs are able to wait a bit longer and take their time in making decisions so it puts a lot of stress on the players.
“For me, I was okay with waiting and seeing what was coming my way but when Jena called, I felt like it was the best place for me and being able to lock down a contract at a very traditional and professionally ambitious club like Jena, was really a no brainer.”
Stauffer admitted he wasn’t aware of the club before he made the move to Germany. But, a friend signed with the team a couple of months ago and Stauffer had been gaining knowledge about them before he ever thought about signing.
In a press release from the club on the signing, they said they see Stauffer as an impact player that can help the team in many different ways, but that doesn’t mean it adds pressure.
He said the plan laid out makes him feel comfortable this was the right move.
The next steps for Stauffer are simple.
“Staying with the good diet and recovery, smile and try to get a little better everyday,” he said. “Come into training with the mindset that I’m not going to get outworked and then the rest will take care of itself.”
Stauffer said he still thinks fondly of his time in Nebraska as it added to his foundation for his professional career. He said his teammates will be friends forever.
“I still keep in touch with some guys from college and teammates that I have played with in the past. Being able to talk about everyone’s individual journey is crazy to see how far everyone is going in the sport but even life in general,” he said. “For me personally I feel like I still have a long way to go and hope to continue to keep pushing the envelope and see how far and how high I can make it. I really enjoy being in Germany for the time being so couldn’t be more excited to start the season.”