By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Blue and White faithful fill the stands of Jeffrey Field to see a show of athleticism and a proud representation of Penn State through the men's soccer team. While the player's shots, skills, and heart seem as natural as the blades of grass supporting their play, the men, garbed in coach's gear, stand back on the sideline and work endlessly to help make that display unfold.
"We don't have anything unbelievable under the rug that we do," associate head coach Chad Duernberger said. "We just try to make sure that our guys get better every single day going forward."
Duernberger is a crucial asset to the Nittany Lions' coaching staff as he takes responsibility for recruiting, mentoring and scouting, in addition to his other developmental coaching duties.
"You know Chad Duernberger has done a fantastic job," head coach Bob Warming said. "All the credit to Chad for getting them prepared and then to our guys for executing."
As October arrives on the schedule, the men's soccer team will head on the road for four consecutive games in the coming month. As Duernberger worked his way up the ranks under Warming, he has become no stranger to traveling with the team and for the team.
"Recruiting is obviously the biggest piece," Duernberger said. "I'm the lead recruiter for the team so long hours driving, flying, spending nights in hotels by yourself and you travel to find the next guys to represent Penn State University."
Although fans can always find Duernberger flanking Warming with assistant coach Owen Griffith on the sidelines, he is usually spending every other moment researching possible new additions to the squad or on the road pursuing the next talented athlete who upholds Penn State's standards of excellence.
"As the lead recruiter, you are always thinking about the next class and the class after that," Duernberger said. "You spend a lot of time with your current players but you're always looking and searching for the next player who will represent the school."
He even traveled for the match against the Wisconsin Badgers just to leave the team immediately after to hop on an airplane in the pursuit of the next possible addition to the Penn State Nittany Lions men's soccer core.
With nine international players donning the Blue and White, one wonders why they committed to a school in the middle of Pennsylvania relatively far from any major city. Two words: Chad Duernberger.
"I think when you recruit players from far away, they need to see that I truly believe in everything I am telling them about Penn State University, which means the absolute world to me," Duernberger said. "So, I think that is a massive piece, besides helping them get comfortable seeing it through me, that I am a Penn Stater, and Penn State is the place to be."
Aside from recruiting, Duernberger also commits himself to mentoring student-athletes on and off the pitch.
"Just to watch them grow as men and that's first and foremost," Duernberger said. "We are gonna win a lot of games, we are gonna drop a few games but we always tell them that it is our main focus to develop you as a man so when you leave here you take a lot of values and things we've been building to take onto your professional and family life."
Duernberger builds that trust to develop these young men through the relationships he creates during recruitment and the effort he puts into improving their game once they arrive at Penn State.
Showing student-athletes pregame video highlights of professional players at the next level, he uses film as a method to create learning and encouragement, both which fall under his umbrella of time and dedication.
"For film review, that takes time. To cut clips, you spend three hours of cutting videos to present to the players for about 20 minutes," Duernberger said.
"Chad Duernberger has done a fantastic job in the last week or two and today again with showing clips," Warming said following the team's win over Detroit Mercy earlier this season. "They got this wonderful visual image of how it could be for a guy who is making 27 million dollars a year and then for us so it's just what you can do in that position so I just think the guys applied a lot of it tonight."
Duernberger has developed into a jack-of-all-trades, which embodies his role and representation of the Blue and White amongst the men's soccer coaching core.
"Chad and Owen are world class assistant coaches," Warming said. "I've had a lot of assistant coaches who are head coaches now in Division 1 and those two guys are going to be terrific, terrific head coaches."
For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.