Before he was dazzling fans at Syracuse with his close control and vision, Julian Buescher was a professional soccer player in Germany.
Buescher grew up in Soest, Germany and played for several youth teams in the area. He even saw some time with the German U-16 and U-18 national teams before becoming a senior team member of 2. Bundesliga squad Prussia Munster in 2011 at the age of 18.
He didn’t play much, but while at Prussia Munster, Buescher’s teammate Matthew Taylor encouraged him to look at schools in the U.S. as an option.
“They set us up here [in the U.S.],” Buescher said. “They don’t do that in Germany.”
German players do not receive any sort of scholarship to play soccer in college. At that point, and for most places in Europe, if a player is not in a youth system, they have almost no chance of playing at the professional level.
Taylor encouraged Buescher to go to an American college in part because of his experiences at UCLA. After a standout career with the Bruins, Taylor played professionally in USL Pro starting in 2003.
He was drafted a year later in the MLS Super Draft by the Kansas City Wizards. He went on to play several years in MLS before eventually moving to Germany to play in 2. Bundesliga himself. The now 33-year old figured it could work for Buescher as well.
“I did it myself. I’d recommend it for anyone,” Taylor said. “I knew he would help any college team in the country.”
Taylor was right.
Buescher arrived in 2014 fresh from playing with the German fourth division club Sportfreude Lotte. He went on to start 20 games for the Orange as a freshman, tallying five assists, including three game winners.
At the end of the year, Syracuse lost several key players. Skylar Thomas, Alex Bono and Jordan Murrell left for MLS while Erik Ekblom left for Tippeligaen, the Norwegian Premier League. The pressure quickly turned to Buescher to start making more plays.
“My coach said I have to be the best player on the field every game,” Buescher said.
The now 22-year old has taken the pressure in stride. So far this season, Buescher leads the Orange in assists and goals with seven of each.
He was on a tear throughout September into October, scoring or assisting in nine straight matches. That streak came to an end against second-ranked UNC on Oct. 10, but Buescher bounced back the following week against Bowling Green, setting up one goal and scoring one of his own.
“[Julian] is an important piece for what we do. He provides quality in the attacking third.” Syracuse soccer head coach Ian McIntyre said. “He is an intelligent player who sees the game.”
Taylor agreed with McIntyre’s assessment.
“He has such a smooth way on the ball,” Taylor said. “He’s much further along than most American’s soccer wise.”
Buescher has continued to work on his understanding of the game and his vision. He models his game after FC Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta and New York City FC’s Andrea Pirlo.
“For them, the game slows down,” Buescher said.
There is another vision on the horizon for Buescher as well, one that has an American backdrop.
“I would love to play in MLS. I worked out with some teams this summer and they seemed to be interested,” he said.
The teams that Buescher worked out for included Seattle Sounders, Columbus Crew, Orlando City SC, Chicago Fire and Toronto FC.
But before he makes the jump to the American professional leagues, he has some unfinished business.
“[Going to the College Cup Final Four] would be a great thing to accomplish this year,” Buescher said. He paused and smiled before continuing, “Maybe we need one more year, but you should always test yourself.”