Chris Froschauer came into the first Ohio State men’s soccer spring practice prepared to command the defense with his boisterous voice. He kept his composure when his team started the season 1-4-2. His eight straight wins that followed the rough first half of the season proved that his chemistry with the backline is now on point.
By the above accounts, one could conclude that Froschauer is a seasoned Buckeye — a veteran that climbed the OSU roster to become a starter his senior year. However, the senior goalie has only been a Buckeye for 16 games.
After starting nearly 60 games for the Dayton Flyers men’s soccer team, where he compiled more than 200 saves, Froschauer decided to take a leap of faith about 80 miles east.
“I figured if I wanted to take a chance somewhere else and do something, why not do it now,” Froschauer said. “I get to play college soccer one time, so I went for it.”
The former three-year starting goalie for the Flyers hit a ceiling in Dayton. A greater challenge with higher rewards awaited him in Columbus, and the Buckeyes had recently lost perhaps the most heralded goalie in program history to graduation: Alex Ivanov.
“He’s very loud,” junior forward Christian Soldat said of Froschauer. “He was one of those guys that right away (made) himself known.”
The stars were aligned, but Froschauer had a small window for meshing with his new teammates on and off the field.
“I think that he felt confident in his ability to come in and help us out, and we were confident in him as well,” senior midfielder Zach Mason said. “I think it was just something where it was a perfect fit.”
Froschauer actually became acquainted with Mason the summer following his freshman year of college. Both him and redshirt junior midfielder Alex Ranalli were teammates of Froschauer’s on the Columbus Crew U-20 team.
OSU was still foreign territory for him, but his beaming personality made the transition phase pass right by and his initiation into the tightly knit team swift.
“If we were a family, I would say he’s our goofy brother; the one that keeps everyone loose, everyone laughing,” Mason said.
The loose characterization was important during the Buckeyes’ four-game skid earlier this season. Following a fourth straight loss, a 2-1 defeat to Northwestern, the team became fed up.
“After the Northwestern game we all kind of sat down together and decided that we didn’t want to do this anymore,” Froschauer said. “We wanted to turn our season around, which is what we’ve done.”
And Froschauer was pivotal in that turnaround. A program-best eight-game winning streak was aided by the senior’s six clean sheets.
Even when the team was struggling, Froschauer was still keeping calm. That trait has helped him save 54 goals while only allowing 15 this season. His communication skills have also led to victories fueled by teamwork, as evidenced by his conference-best seven shutouts.
The backline was shaky at the beginning of the season, but Froschauer quickly got vocally accustomed to his teammates. His actions were instantly infectious.
“He’s very vocal in the games and in practice, and he’s just a goofy kid,” Soldat said. “He’s always a happy guy, he’s always loud and he wants to be in the conversation.”
The continually growing relationship between Froschauer and the defense is peaking at just the right time. The Big Ten tournament is set to commence in two weekends, and the Buckeyes will be fighting back for the No. 1 seed after losing the spot to Rutgers in their previous game.
“We’ve definitely come to understand each other better; what my tendencies are, what their tendencies are,” Froschauer said.
The four-year starter has been the perfect source for the team to gather momentum. Opponents are taking fewer shots on goal thanks to a firmer defense, and Froschauer is putting the offense in position to give the Buckeyes a victory in almost every outing.
When questioned about his goalie’s greatest quality, Mason snapped back quickly: “His confidence.” It also happens to be spreading team-wide.
“It really is contagious in the team,” Mason said. “I think if you have a confident goalkeeper that helps the defense be confident, midfields and all the way up to the forwards.”
Froschauer is definitely making the most out of his bold decision to finish off his collegiate soccer career at OSU. His teammates have been channeling his positive attitude and will to win, and it is resulting in a climb up the standings.
“He’s the voice from the back,” Mason said.
Froschauer’s poise instills faith in his teammates. He has only known them for eight months.