David Horst Working To Finish Engineering Program Via Distance Learning While Still Playing Pro Soccer

April 01, 2010
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

April 1, 2010

During his Old Dominion University playing days, David Horst was recognized for his achievements on the soccer field - being named Colonial Athletic Association's Defender of the Year in 2006 and 07, along with being named to the second team All-American squad in 2007 on a team that advanced further in the NCAA tournament than any men's soccer team in ODU history.

Two years removed from his collegiate career, Horst is juggling his time as a professional soccer player for Real Salt Lake with his engineering studies, utilizing ODU's distance learning program, Teletechnet, to take classes from Utah.

"I know soccer will not last me forever. Since last summer I've been taking classes through ODU and will graduate in the spring of 2011," Horst said.

When he came to ODU from Pine Grove, Pa., Horst chose exercise science as his major. Late in his first year he switched to civil engineering, with a focus on construction management.

"I wanted to challenge and push myself, along with playing soccer," Horst said. "I knew that soccer wouldn't last me forever, so I needed a degree in something I can use one day."

Eventually, Horst hopes to be a project manager for a large construction company. But for now, his life consists of balancing the demands of a professional soccer player with the courses he's taking online to finish his degree.

As a player, Horst left ODU as the school's all-time leader in games and minutes played. He was drafted as the 14th pick of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, leaving after the fall semester in his fourth year at the university to pursue his pro soccer dream.

Though his team won the MLS championship in 2009, it's been an adjustment for Horst, coming off the bench for a Salt Lake City team really deep at the back end.

Horst said he doesn't have any time to worry about that, but instead is more concerned with finding time for his studies in between practices, games and workouts.

"The long-distance learning program has been great for me because I know the system and the teachers, and I'm constantly traveling all over for games and preseason," Horst said. "Also, with our practice and game schedule, it enables me to watch the classes on my own time and complete the work when I have the time."

Horst said Carol Considine, director of the civil engineering technology program in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, and instructor Jeffrey Irving have been a huge help. "The teachers in the CET department have been amazing also," he added. "They work with me and understand my other duties as a professional soccer player."

Many of Horst's teammates don't even know that he's studying engineering on the side.

"The coaches all know and will sometimes let me out of practice early if I have to take a test, but that's usually the only thing that will get me out of practice early," Horst said.

Story written by the ODU Office of University Relations