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'It's a Great Setup': Schaale Praises CPL-U SPORTS Deal Ahead of Cape Breton Return

August 9, 2019 - Canadian Premier League (CPL) - HFX Wanderers FC News Release

HALIFAX - School may be a forbidden word in the middle of August, but it's back to the books for Peter Schaale.

The last order of business with HFX Wanderers FC for Schaale comes at home on Saturday afternoon against Cavalry FC before he returns to Cape Breton University for the final year of his business degree.

Heading into this final match of the season, the German centre-back has a mix of emotions as he leaves midway through the Fall.

"It's like two-sided, kind of, because obviously I'm sad to leave," Schaale said after practice on Friday. "But I'm definitely happy as well to go back to university. It's a nice setup up in Cape Breton and we have a good team, good coaches. I'm kind of looking forward as well to get back there and have some unfinished business to do up there."

For Schaale, his mindset was always to return to school to finish his degree, even if Wanderers teammates and fans were holding out hope he'd finish out the inaugural CPL campaign on the mainland of Nova Scotia.

"My standpoint from the beginning, I kind of knew that I was going to go back," Schaale said.

Thanks to a partnership between U SPORTS and the Canadian Premier League, student-athletes are able to play professional soccer while retaining university eligibility and the option to go back to school to complete degrees.

"This gives university players a chance to come and play in the CPL and get really good experience, be out there, get people to look at you, make yourself a name in the league," Schaale explained. "It's great because now I'm going back, I'm finishing my degree and I have a plan B if football doesn't work out. That was big for me. It's a great setup."

Having a plan B is good, but for Schaale, his dream of being a professional soccer player seems to be right on track for success: Selected 5th overall in the 2019 CPL-U SPORTS draft by coach Stephen Hart, the 6-foot-3 defender was a durable anchor on the backline, playing in 21 games.

"Things have turned out good for me in Halifax. Coach (Hart) was really good," said Schaale. "He liked me and gave me opportunity to play on that level and he drafted me here and he believed in me."

He also turned into a fan favourite with The Kitchen faithful at the Wanderers Grounds where fans would sing his name every match, wave a German flag and hold a banner reading "You Schaale Not Pass." After his final game was announced, fans photoshopped a photo of that banner onto the Canso Causeway, the bridge that links Cape Breton to mainland Nova Scotia.

Schaale said his favourite moment of the season came on May 29 when he scored his first professional goal at home to level the score in an eventual 1-1 draw against York9.

"Overall, this whole experience is just something for me that I didn't expect to happen that way when I came to Canada a couple years ago," Schaale said. "Things have turned out really well for me in Canada and now having that experience in the CPL for at least almost a season is phenomenal."

Hart drafted Schaale but also trusted him with big minutes and had positive words about the centre-back ahead of the farewell game.

"As a coach who has been in through sort of the development of a lot of athletes, it's always good to see the progress of an athlete," Hart told CanPL.ca while highlighting the importance of a dedication to training.

"There's no shortcut. He was one of those players that put his head down. It was a little rough for him in the beginning but he put his head down, he plugged away and I think being in a position where he was able to play on a regular basis taught him more than I could ever teach him."

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