Nathan Sprenkel '12 signs second pro contract
Nathan Sprenkel ’12 signed a professional two-year contract Tuesday. Isabelle Chapman / The DePauw
Nathan Sprenkel '12 signed a professional two-year contract Tuesday with the Major Indoor Soccer League franchise, Chicago Soul FC.
This is the second pro contract of Sprenkel's soccer career. The first was in July when he signed with Antigua Barracuda FC - a team in the third tier of the United States Soccer Federation below Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League.
Sprenkel will leave his current is an assistant coach with the DePauw men's soccer team, but will leave the position Sunday.
The Soul is in its fourth month of existence as an expansion MISL team. The MISL was established in May 2011 and is now a seven-team league.
Sprenkel has the opportunity to be the team's first starting goalkeeper.
"I've never played competitive indoor soccer before - it's a completely different game," Sprenkel said. "They're excited for my future and development and wanted to get me locked up as soon as they could."
It started on Aug. 26 when he traveled up to Chicago for a tryout with the Soul. A couple days later, he called the Soul to tell them that he needs to keep his options open. He was applying to attend a players' combine, which takes place this weekend.
Sprenkel was invited to the combine, and then was offered a contract by the Soul on Sept. 13. On Tuesday, Sprenkel signed the contract and mailed it to Chicago.
"When I got it, I had coach (Brad Hauter) and my dad read through it, and we had a couple of questions," Sprenkel said. "I over-nighted it Tuesday. They're probably receiving it today."
In three years at DePauw, Sprenkel always had his eyes set on a pro career. In his sophomore year, he was named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and earned all-Great Lakes Region first team honors. In Sprenkel's final senior year, he led the Tigers to a North Coast Athletic Conference title and was named the NCAC Defensive Player of the Year.
At the conclusion of the season, Hauter and Sprenkel laid out a plan to get the Zionsville, Ind., native on the national radar. He attended the Info Sport Pro Soccer Combine in Florida in January, then tried out for Antigua and was signed during the summer following graduation.
"With Antigua, it was late in the season, and it was for the last few weeks," Sprenkel said. "This one feels a little more real because I'll start when everyone is coming in. I can be a part of the growth and development of the franchise. It's nice to have something to do over the winter. I don't have my mom nagging me."
He said during talks with co-owner, Dave Morky, the opportunity to play and the contract kept getting better. At first, they wanted to offer him a one-year deal. In subsequent talks, the contract became a two-year commitment.
Sprenkel will play for Manny Rojas, who was announced Tuesday as the club's head coach. Rojas was a Chilean National Soccer team player for more than 20 years starting in 1971.
Sprenkel will join the team Monday, and the Soul's first game is Nov. 2 on the road against the Syracuse Silver Knights. He will leave DePauw and his assistant coaching position Sunday afternoon.
"I wish I could stay to be honest, but this something I've always wanted to do and something I need to do," Sprenkel said. "I'm hoping I'll have another opportunity to get back here sometime in the future."
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