Profiling Academic All-American Jonathan Hemmert
Feb. 16, 2005
Previous installments of "Meet A Bison": By Todd Merriett, Bucknell Athletic Communications
By Todd Merriett, Bucknell Athletic Communications
While in Italy, soccer was on the back burner for Hemmert, who was in The City of the Seven Hills for academic reasons through Bucknell's popular study abroad program. It is not unusual for Hemmert to focus on academics. The classics major is the reigning Patriot League Men's Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year. The prestigious award was presented to him following the 2003 season when he posted a 4.0 gpa and became Bucknell's 94th all-time Scholar Athlete, tops in the Patriot League.
"I learned about winning the award over e-mail while I was in Italy," Hemmert recalls. "It was quite an honor to be singled out of all the players in an academic-conscious league like the Patriot League where grades are placed above athletics."
Being such a good student at an academic institution like Bucknell, along with being an outstanding soccer player in a competitive conference like the Patriot League is not easy. However, Hemmert makes it appear simple with his time management and basic philosophy of doing the work that is expected of him.
"Balancing academics and athletics is almost difficult to the point that it is easy," explains Hemmert. "When you are as pressed for time as we can be during the season, you learn to get it all done. Everyday you have class, practice, homework and sleep and that is all you have time for. I think if you show up to class everyday, get your work done and do what is expected, the rest will take care of itself on the academic side of things."
"Jon does a great job at separating academics and athletics," says Bucknell's sixth-year head coach Brendan Nash. "He makes sure neither interferes with the other and he performs each to its highest extent."
The classics curriculum that Hemmert must balance with soccer offers students the opportunity to study the Mediterranean world of the ancient Greeks and Romans and, to a more limited extent, the societies of the Near East and Egypt. Hemmert was able to study those subjects he loves while in Italy, but it did not mean he was without soccer. Along with playing intense pick-up games, he was able to watch a number of European professional teams play, including AS Roma and SS Lazio, who both play at Stadio Olimpico which was down the street from his apartment.
"Every Sunday afternoon I would go watch a match," remembers Hemmert. "My favorite player, Francesco Totti, plays for Roma and having the opportunity to watch him play was an unbelievable experience."
Despite having access to soccer in Italy, Hemmert missed the chance to play soccer with his teammates while overseas. As a senior on this year's squad, Hemmert expanded his leadership role that was shared among co-captains Ori Adrabi and Michael Lookingland and the rest of the six-person senior class. Not being able to be with his teammates whom he is so close with was difficult for the Westerville, Ohio, native and was an area of concern for Nash.
"We were worried to see him go because he is so much a part of our team," says Nash. "When he came back he stepped into his role as a leader immediately. He is very vocal and pushes his teammates to do their best."
Hemmert not only stepped back into his role as leader, but as a productive offensive player as well. The midfielder finished the 2004 campaign with five goals and five assists for a total of 15 points. All three figures ranked second on the team as he finished his career second on Bucknell's career assists list with 22.
Even after returning to the United States from Italy at the end of the spring semester, Hemmert did not immediately return to the Lewisburg, Pa., campus of Bucknell. He instead spent two months doing an internship with a consulting firm in Los Angeles.
When he returned to Bucknell, Hemmert was able to focus on his final season in Orange and Blue, along with getting his future plans squared away. He took the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in October in anticipation of applying to law schools, but instead landed a job with an investment banking firm in New York City.
On the soccer field, Hemmert and his teammates have the goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Having already led the Bison to back-to-back double-figure win seasons, a feat that has occurred only three times in the 74-year history of the program, the senior class could enhance its legacy by winning the Patriot League postseason tournament and advancing to NCAAs.
Last year, Hemmert scored two goals and tallied seven assists in leading Bucknell to an undefeated regular season in the Patriot League. The team's mark of 5-0-2 clinched the top seed and right to host the tournament at West Fields. Unfortunately, fourth-seeded Lehigh upended the Bison by a 2-0 score in the opening game.
"The loss to Lehigh has been in our minds ever since that day," says Hemmert. "To go undefeated the whole regular season and then lose in the semifinals was disappointing. It is our goal to reach the NCAAs this year and we need to build upon the things we did right last season and use that loss as motivation."
As his career comes to a close, Hemmert has a chance to reflect on the beginnings of his tenure at Bucknell, a school he chose over other institutions, including North Carolina State.
"Other places I visited had completely different atmospheres than Bucknell, which I chose because of the people I encountered on my recruiting visit," remembers Hemmert. "I could see the way the team interacted as a family and that appealed to me. At other schools it was so much more individualistic. I felt like other players viewed a recruit as a threat, while here at Bucknell I was welcomed."
Bucknell has also welcomed Hemmert's parents, who have made it to nearly every game of his career, which has seen him accumulate 18 assists to rank fifth on the school's all-time list. Hemmert says his dad has missed only a handful of matches outside of mid-week contests despite living more than six-and-one-half hours from Lewisburg.
In the future, Hemmert plans to experience a big city like New York or Los Angeles again, but nothing will compare to his four months in Italy's capital city and four years in Lewisburg. Looking back on his tenure at Bucknell his fondest memories will come from his time on the soccer field and his semester abroad.