Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business
Christian Poxleitner

Reaching His Goal

International business student finds a home advantage on UC soccer team.

For most of his life, Christian Poxleitner of Linz, Austria has been a huge fan of football—better known as soccer to Americans. Since age seven, he’s been playing center back position on club teams in Linz.

Fast forward to college, when the 22-year-old learned he’d be studying abroad for the 2011–2012 school year at UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business.  He didn’t want his soccer skills to wane.

Poxleitner, BBA ’12, inquired about making the UC team. Coaches asked him to send his stats and a video. He didn’t have that. Coaches then told him if he wanted a shot at making the team, he would need to arrive at UC in July 2011 to show his stuff. But Poxleitner’s plane ticket had been booked for an August departure.

“I had no idea how serious college sports are in America,” says the exchange student from UC’s international partner school Johannes Kepler University in Linz.

Three weeks after the start of the Big East season, Poxleitner arrived at UC in August to begin school—and for a two-week tryout. He sat out for a week and watched his would-be teammates train until his NCAA clearance, which involved a physical and paperwork.  

Once cleared, he trained with the team.

“I was a little worried about trying out,” he says. “The coaches didn’t know anything about my skill level, yet they were willing to give me a try.”

The coaches liked what they saw and invited him to join.

“He’s a great kid, and we’re pleased to have him on the team,” says Hylton Dayes, UC men’s soccer coach. “I wish we could keep him beyond the year.”

For Poxleitner, it was a proud moment. His fellow teammates welcomed him and made him feel comfortable.

“It’s the first time one of our international students has been on a university athletic team,” says Gwen Roemer, associate director of International Programs at the Lindner College of Business.

Soccer, he quickly discovered, differed between UC and home.  

“In Europe, soccer is based on technical skills; here, it’s more physical and all about conditioning,” he says.

His commitment to the team entails 18 to 20 hours of training and weight lifting each week—often twice a day.  Morning and evening workouts meant he wouldn’t arrive home until after 11 p.m. each night.  

His physical condition has never been better, he says.

“I could see how my body changed,” he says, noting that he gained 13 pounds since his arrival. “I’m in better shape now than when I got here.”

His life as an athlete has been demanding and stressful, as Poxleitner works hard to juggle the pressure from attending class, homework and workouts. Still, he manages to keep his grades above average, finishing fall and winter terms with a 3.833 GPA and a 3.992 GPA, respectively.

Back at his home university in Linz, he has three majors: international business, marketing and operations management. He’s also studying English and Spanish to complement his native German language.

His year at UC is quickly progressing. He’s been impressed by the beautiful campus  and “all the resources devoted to sports,” he says. He’s appreciated a new cultural experience and speaks highly of his classes at the Lindner College of Business.

“I like the smaller classes and individual attention,” he says. “The teachers here are more caring. They make an effort to get to know you, learn everybody’s name and make interesting real-world connections.”

During his time at UC, he’s managed to squeeze in travel time with three other international students from Linz. The four of them room together and have traveled to Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Toronto, Niagara Falls and to Indianapolis to participate in Super Bowl tailgating activities.

After spring break, he’ll gear up for another soccer stint. In the fall of 2011, he enjoyed the experience of traveling to play Big East schools. Spring will bring local travel.

Poxleitner returns to Linz at the end of June to finish his undergraduate studies, but he’s already thinking about his next stateside opportunity: graduate school and added travel.

“That is my dream,” he says.