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The Students News Site of Francis Howell High School

FHHS Today

The Students News Site of Francis Howell High School

FHHS Today

    Howell alum becomes youngest goalkeeper on MLS team

    Maya Nordeen
    Guest speaker Patrick Schulte delivers a speech at the “Snow” Place Like Howell winter assembly, Dec. 15.

    From leaving in the middle of the day for practice to eating lunch in business teacher Nadine Freedline’s classroom, Patrick Schulte, class of 2019, owes a lot to the H.

    “It was probably some of the best four years of my life, just kind of being free-minded. I enjoyed every second that I was there. The friendships and the relationships that I made there, I still have those relationships and friendships to this day. It was just a lot of fun and I’m very grateful to them for my time there,” Schulte said.

    He split his school day between class and practicing with the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club.

    “From the principals to all the teachers and the student body, they let me achieve the goals I wanted to achieve, whether that was me missing some class or working to make a crazy schedule [that allowed me to] go to my first two hours and come back for sixth and seventh hour so that I could play soccer during the middle of the day,” Schulte said. “I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to kickstart my career in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”

    Schulte also played for the Vikings basketball team, carrying the team to a final-four appearance in the 2019 Class 5 championship.

    “Basketball is my true love. If you told me I could play in the NBA right now, I’d be playing basketball. But I knew that I wanted to be a professional athlete. I knew that soccer was my best route, it was a sport that I was the best at. So I was really just kind of dedicated to achieving my lifelong goal of being a professional athlete,” Schulte said. “But I just wanted to play basketball honestly, as long as I could, and that was all the way until my senior year. So I’m just grateful that I had the opportunity to continue to play basketball as long as I did.”

    Not only did Schulte’s coaches have a major influence on him, but so did his academic teachers. Freedline was one of many teachers with whom Schulte shared a close bond, even eating lunch in her room.

    “They did practical jokes on me all the time, him and his friends. I have this big bulletin board, like a collage, of just photos of students. Well, they printed their dads’ faces and put them on my board and didn’t tell me. They had bets on how long it would take before I noticed. One day I opened my cabinet door and I was like, ‘Why is Tim on my board?’ They laughed, they thought they were so funny,” Freedline said. “So it got to a point where I was like, ‘You’re not allowed to eat in here anymore if you guys don’t stop playing jokes on me.’ One time they took my clock and hid it. Another time they took my flag and hid it. And we didn’t know till Wednesday when we were doing the pledge that I didn’t have a flag. They would just always pull practical jokes on me. They thought they were so funny. So that’s what that was like. But it was fun and bonding because we got one-on-one time and really got to talk.”

    After graduation, Schulte continued to have a positive impact on his alma mater by reflecting the values the H hopes to instill in its students.

    “Patrick truly exemplified what we aspire to be as Vikings at Howell. Patrick was a leader, a great role model for others, and strived to have success both in the classroom and on the field and court. He is someone that was not only respected by his classmates but also the staff here at Howell and the opponents he played,” Activities Director Sean Erwin said.

    Schulte went on to play soccer at St. Louis University, before getting drafted to the Columbus Crew in Columbus, Ohio for the 2023 season. Columbus Crew was one of the 10 founding clubs in Major League Soccer when it was created in 1993.

    “[The best way to describe this past season] is a roller coaster, just with it being my first year. I had a lot of learning moments, there were a lot of ups and downs, just trying to figure out playing. I think I played 40 games, which some never did over a calendar year at this high a level. [There is so] much pressure that is put on [a player who is] playing in front of 25,000 fans every week. I’m just excited to take those learning moments into this year and kind of just continue to grow. But, to be able to have those ups and downs that I had last year and still manage a championship out of it is pretty sweet to me,” Schulte said.

    Schulte still makes a point to take time out of his busy schedule to visit his hometown and express gratitude to those who played a role in raising him.

    “Even after leaving Howell and having a high level of success, he still continues to stop by and talk with staff and students,” Erwin said. “It is always great to have him drop by my office and to hear how he is doing. It is always great to see the things that our Vikings accomplish after leaving Howell and it is even better when they are such excellent examples of Howell and our community.”

    On Dec. 9, at age 22, Schulte made history as the youngest goalkeeper to both start in an MLS game and win an MLS cup.

    “Dreams come true. Honestly, to win the [MLS] World Cup, it’s something that you dream of as a kid. I’ve watched this game numerous times, throughout my life, and just to play and experience it, it’s something awesome that I’ll never take for granted,” Schulte said. “Afterwards, life was a big party for the next couple of weeks, but it’s kind of all set in now. I want to live through that again, hopefully sometime soon.”

    Schulte made his debut as a goalkeeper for the U.S. Soccer Mens National Team on Jan. 20 in a match against Slovakia, a feat that seemed to surprise no one back at the H.

    “If you ask me one word to describe Patrick, [it’s that] he is a competitor. And so I am not surprised at all for how far he has gone. But it is not because he didn’t work hard. He was committed and dedicated and he had goals and he knew what he wanted to do. There was no doubt in my mind he was going to do it,” Freedline said.

    Schulte will continue to play for both the Columbus Crew and the National Team through 2024, with hopes of going to Paris to further represent the U.S.A. at the 2024 Summer Olympics.

     “To be able to represent your country, in one form or another, is something that is truly special, and I never take getting those calls and those emails for granted. It’s the pinnacle of your profession, just to be able to play and have USA across your chest. You’re playing for more than just your city or your club, it’s for everyone in the United States. And it’s something that you can’t really describe; it’s butterflies in your stomach, honestly,” Schulte said. “Stepping out on the field [for the game against Slovakia], I’ve never been more nervous for a game than I was for that one, just because it was my first time playing with the senior team and representing our country.”

    Schulte is one of only eight Howell alumni to have gone on to become a professional athlete, and only the third to make it onto a national team.

    “My dad always says, be addicted to the process of getting better. But also make sure you’re having fun while doing it,” Schulte said. “If it’s ever a chore, you gotta go back to being a kid again and just have fun playing the sport and that’s when you’ll be at your best.”

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    About the Contributor
    Maya Nordeen
    Maya Nordeen, Web and Photo Editor
    What’s up! My name is Maya, I’m a senior (finally) and editor of this here website! I am also our photo editor, meaning I'm in charge of all of the cameras that we use for the newspaper and yearbook! This is my third year on staff, fourth year in journalism, and have been making yearbooks since I was in seventh grade (aside from my freshman year)! I also am the lighting lead for our drama club, and love to dance, read, write, and rock climb! I hope you all have a wonderful year!

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