Senior goalkeeper Simon Böehme has dominated in goal since taking over the starting spot at Cal Poly. Megan Healy | Mustang News

He is said to be the most sought out goalkeeper in the nation this next season.

Cal Poly men’s soccer senior goalkeeper Simon Böehme has come a long way to get where he is now, according to men’s soccer head coach Steve Sampson. He’s got one more season to go in order to live up to the high expectations.

He and his coach are confident that he can.

A Danish soccer start

Böehme was born in Aalborg, Denmark and started playing at the age of three.

Both his parents played volleyball; at one point, his dad played for the Danish National Team. However, regardless of the sport, they helped facilitate their son’s athletic aspirations.

Böehme’s father coached Böehme and his sister’s early soccer teams and provided encouragement and support. His grandmother took him to his first-ever soccer practice and his slower pace of play landed him in the box for the first time.

“[The coaches] were like ‘Ah this kid is kind of slow, let’s put him in the goal,’ and I happened to be okay at it and kept going from there,” Böehme said with a laugh.

His first official soccer jersey was the Danish national goalkeeper jersey and his love for the position continued.

The 6-foot-four-inch, 188-pound athlete was part of former head coach Paul Holocher’s recruiting class of 2014. In his freshman season, Böehme redshirted and didn’t get to see much of Alex G. Spanos Stadium’s field. However, his time spent on the sidelines paid off.

In the 2017-18 season, Böehme had a combined 62 saves and stopped 76 percent of the shots on goal for the 16 games he played and started.

“His ability to distribute the ball and play out of left back, but it’s really those game-saving shots that he’s able to stop that makes him so special,” Sampson said.

The goal box and its goalie

According to Böehme, it takes a certain mentality to be a successful goalkeeper.

“If you have stuff in the back of your mind from the previous play, you are not going to get the next ball, get that next important save,” Böehme said. “I guess short-term memory is important to be a goalkeeper.”

This strong-willed thinking didn’t happen right away. In fact, Böehme said he often found himself bored and lonely when he was first trying out the position at a young age.

From there, he figured out that he had to stay in constant communication with his teammates to keep his head in the game. Now Böehme is never afraid of taking on the responsibility of being a goalkeeper, even when facing a penalty kick.

“If you save it, you’re a hero, but if it goes in, I don’t think a lot of people are going to blame you,” Böehme said.

Böehme said there’s one thing that keeps him playing.

“The rush,” Böehme said. “Getting caught in the moment when you have a big save is amazing. That is what you play for especially in big games.”

A bright future

The Cal Poly men’s soccer team has seen well-rounded goalies play in the box and Böehme is no exception. He takes after former Mustang Wade Hamilton, who now sports a Los Angeles Galaxy jersey.

“I think the goalkeeper position has really been filled with outstanding players here and [Böehme’s] got some big shoes to fill,” Sampson said.

But learning from the alumni is something the team prides themselves on. With the alumni game coming up May 12, the Mustangs are preparing to show the veterans the continued strength and cohesiveness of the team.

“You get that humbling experience of working your way, learning from the guy in front of you, maturing as you go, on and off the field,” Böehme said.

Böehme is currently in recovery from a shoulder injury. He dislocated his shoulder and tore his labrum during a game against blue-green rival UC Santa Barbara in October 2017.

For now, he is taking a backseat and will work on physical therapy in the spring to fully recover for the fall season.

“Sometimes you might get down on yourself in tough situations like with an injury or sitting on the bench, but just staying in the moment and knowing that it will come back ten-fold at some point,” Böehme said.

Physical and mental strength, determination and humility fuels this rising soccer star and might propel him to a promising future.

“We have a lot of depth, but I fully expect Simon to be our starter, to be our captain and to be one of the best goalkeepers in the country,” Sampson said.

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