N.C. State's German goalkeeper adjusting to life in America

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Leon Krapf has taken to life in North Carolina.

"American food I have grown to like? It's probably the barbecue here," he said.

It's lucky because the Wolfpack goalkeeper knew next to nothing when he agreed to leave Germany and come to Raleigh.

"I've never heard of N.C. State University before, and I also didn't have time to come on any visits, so I really didn't know what I got myself into," Krapf said.

Krapf immediately became the Pack's No. 1, playing every minute of every game in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

"A big reason why we've been to three straight tournaments," N.C. State head coach George Kiefer told ABC11. "That first year, he had to make some saves that you're like, wow, how'd he come up with that?"

Krapf's junior season though ended almost immediately because of a catastrophic knee injury.

"I tore my ACL, my MCL and a couple of other ligaments," he said.

Which brings us to the arrival of COVID-19. Still, in the midst of rehab, Krapf had a decision to make -- return home to quarantine with his family in Germany -- or stay put.

"If you leave the country now, you don't really know when you're allowed back in," Krapf said. "I have a couple of obligations here over the summer, so I have my internship with Credit Suisse, I'm going to continue to do my rehab for my knee injury and I'm also taking summer classes. So that's why I decided it made more sense to stay here."

Rehab became a solo affair - bodyweight exercises with water jugs in his backpack, running and some goalkeeper work. Krapf has now been cleared to work with a coach.

"Just being on the field with the team again, actively taking part in the match and helping the team to win is the feeling that is the most rewarding feeling," he said.

It's all affirmation he made the right decision not just to come to Raleigh, but to stay during the pandemic.

"I think it was a wise decision, but it was not an easy decision," Krapf said. "I'm very confident that when I see my family again in the winter then I'll enjoy it even more."
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