Tom Pfotenhauer ’99 set the record for most saves as the goal-keeper for men’s soccer, and started every game but one in four years. Though he’s relatively short for a goalie at 5'9", he was quick, could jump high and always seemed to know where the shot would come from.
“The biggest thing was anticipation, reading how the plays would develop, because I was so much shorter than a lot of goal-keepers,” he says. “I had to play the right angles, make people beat you that way.”
The men’s soccer team didn’t win much during Pfotenhauer’s freshman year, and while he was frequently scored on, “I don’t think I’ll have the ‘most saves’ record taken from me,” he says with a laugh. “We were really bad before we got good. We were turning the culture and shifting. I loved those years and loved playing for my teammates. I had no idea I would be setting a record.”
After graduating, Pfotenhauer played minor-league soccer in Oregon for a year, and on local teams while in seminary. Today he is the pastor of a large LCMS congregation founded by his father in the Twin Cities.
“I often think back to those days on the soccer field and apply those lessons in leadership,” he says. “Things like perseverance. In life it’s always worth giving your best, no matter what you’re doing. That’s a big thing I learned through challenging losses.”
Being inducted into the Hall of the Fame for soccer was “surprising and exciting to me,” Pfotenhauer says. “What I brought most to the team was I poured everything into it and gave it my best, and tried to be a good ambassador for the school along the way.”