Despite having missed three games this season, Wisconsin soccer forward Jed Hohlbein has made his impression on both his team and the conference. Until his third missed game, Hohlbein was leading the Badgers in both points (13) and goals (6), and is among the conference leaders in those categories. After transferring from Southwest Missouri State, Jed joined his younger brother Aaron, a sophomore midfielder and defender, on the Wisconsin squad last season. In 2003, Jed led the team in both goals and points and netted his second career hat trick and first as a Badger. Hohlbein missed his third full game this Sunday in Wisconsin's upset victory over No. 9 Penn State.
Last season as a junior you finished third in the Big Ten in points and second in goals, did you set any personal goals coming into your senior season?
Coming into my senior year I have high expectations for myself. The last two years I felt I did a decent job of scoring goals, but I always felt I could do better. This year I expected my self to be up in at least the 14 or 15 goal area. I feel that would be a pretty good accomplishment considering our schedule.
You injured your ankle towards the end of the 2-1 loss to IUPUI last month and since then have missed two 1-0 defeats to Northern Illinois and Ohio State. As the team's leading scorer, how difficult has it been to sit on the sidelines and know that your presence in a game very well could have resulted in a victory for your team?
It's very frustrating having to miss any games, especially really close games. I think that our team has a lot of very capable finishers, but I would like to think that I might have been able to make a difference in close games like those. While I'm on the sidelines, though, I'm just going to try and help the guys taking my place the best I can.
You are originally from Wisconsin, but you decided to go to school out of state before returning to Madison. What are the major pros and cons of playing soccer nine hours away from home and fifteen minutes away from home?
It was kind of nice to play soccer in a new environment and get a little different experience. One of the nicest things about being further south was the weather. Fall came later and spring came earlier. One of the negatives of being that far away, though, was that my parents and brother didn't get to see a lot of my games. Being back in Madison has been great. My family is now able to watch almost all of our games. It is also nice because I have a lot of friends here in town as well. Also, having grown up here and played here, it is nice to be able to give back to the local soccer community.
Who decided to go to Wisconsin first, you as a transfer or your brother as a freshman?
My brother committed here pretty early, so I was still focused on finishing my season at SMS. I didn't make the decision until after my sophomore season had ended.
Growing up I am sure you played on the same club and/or school team as Aaron, how have you seen him grow as a player?
I think that right from the start Aaron stepped into both a quality club and high school team and more than held his own. He has been playing against guys at least 2 years older than him for a while now and I think that has really helped him develop. Being so much younger, he was always physically smaller than most guys, but as he's started to fill out he has become much more of a physically dominant force in the back. He's really developed into a great player.
You have played soccer across the country and around the world, what is the most exciting place that soccer has ever taken you?
It's tough to pick just one place, but I guess I would have to say that going to Brazil was maybe the neatest experience. Brazil is a beautiful country, and is home to some of the best soccer in the world. The passion for the game there is incredible. The games we played there were some of the most intense games I've been in. The highlight of the trip, however, was getting to meet Pele'. It was amazing getting to meet such a soccer legend.
A lot of American sports fans still are not familiar with the history and tradition of soccer. Can you relate the significance of scoring a hat trick in terms that the average sports fan would understand?
I would equate a hat trick in soccer to a basketball player having a 30-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist game; or to a football player scoring 3 or 4 touchdowns in a game. All three are pretty rare.
In 2003 you were an Academic All-Conference selection majoring in human geography. What exactly is human geography?
Human geography is studying the relationship between humans and space. One example of something a human geographer studies would be patterns of migration and settlement.
Last year you were named to the Academic All-Big Ten team and led the Badgers in scoring, how are you able to balance the demands of playing a Big Ten varsity sport with the rigors of what seems to be a pretty strenuous major?
The most important thing is to set aside time for studying and to be completely focused during that time. It is important to be very productive in the time you do spend studying because while playing a sport that time can be very limited. I believe it's also important, though, to know when to take a break and have some fun, or just relax.
Including yourself, eight members of the Wisconsin soccer team played high school basketball; what is it about the skills you need to compete at an elite level on the soccer field that translate so well to the basketball court?
I think that being in very good shape is a definite benefit from playing soccer. Also having quick feet is important in basketball and I think that soccer develops good footwork.
Who would win in a Badger soccer one-on-one basketball tournament?
Tough question. I guess I would have to give the nod to Matt Jelacic. He is 6'3" and had the option to play Division I basketball. I would like to think I could give him a pretty good game, though.
I understand that you have a rather substantial CD collection, how many CDs do you have?
I have about 170 CDs.
If you had to pick just five CDs to listen to for the rest of your life, what would they be?
The 1 st disc of the White Album from the Beatles
Radiohead, OK Computer
Led Zeppelin, II