Real Monarchs announced the signing of Jasper Löffelsend today, Real Salt Lake’s third round draft pick in the recent 2022 MLS SuperDraft.
A full German-born player that has seen career minutes at both right back and defensive midfield, he adds versatility and depth to the Monarchs, as well as a future prospect for RSL should the 24 year old develop quickly in MLS NEXT Pro. But the player born and raised in Köln carries with him a unique story — one that whisked him away from the semi-pro divisions of German soccer, to a full profession with Real Monarchs in Salt Lake City.
Löffelsend spent the early years of his career playing in Germany’s Regionalliga West, effectively the 4th division of the nation. While he was playing semi-professionally, he completed his bachelors in Business Administration at the University of Köln. At this intersection Löffelsend had to decide which path he wanted to take, to use his degree and find a job in business, or pursue a professional career in soccer.
He delayed his choice with a unique compromise, becoming a graduate transfer to the University of Pittsburgh on a soccer scholarship, all while looking to study for his master’s degree; thus allowing himself two years of college soccer to develop into a professional or to start using his education.
His time in Pittsburgh became a boon, and Löffelsend established himself as a force at both right-back and defensive midfield at the college level. The accolades quickly followed, winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and a two time semi-finalist for college player of the year. While unnoticed from American media attention, Löffelsend back home in Germany gathered his friends and family in Köln for a draft watch party, hoping to be selected in the 2022 MLS draft. In a dramatic turn, they had to wait until the very last few picks in the draft to be selected, the draft only having three selections left in the third round when his phone starting ringing.
“My college coach from Pittsburgh was on the other end and gave me a heads-up that it was my turn… That was an incredible feeling” Löffelsend told WDR (West German Broadcast.)
Löffelsend then had 36 hours to pack his things and fly to Salt Lake City for the biggest trial of his career. Right away Pablo Mastroeni wanted to see the versatile defensive player in pre-season minutes, and in both of his positions. The international player featured as a starter both in the game against Viking FK, as well as against Minnesota United FC. During these games, he showed promise in his defensive prowess, most notably at defensive midfield, where paired with both Everton Luiz and Scott Caldwell, put in solid shifts. Despite his positional responsibility, he on many occasions attempted to make confident, creative passes forward, many of which we’re met with success. Based on his performances, it was little surprise he ended up being offered a deal to join Real Monarchs for 2022. Finally becoming a professional player after his long journey.
Back when he was drafted, Löffelsend speculated about how much he desired the opportunity to finally be a full time professional: something he now can live out.
“The thing I’m most looking forward to is the professional life, having nothing else on my mind but soccer, fitness, nutrition, scouting, analysis. I think that frees you up and gives you a boost.”