"Matthew Hoppe is an inspiration for young players" according to former Schalke and Germany international forward Gerald Asamoah, who knows the 19-year-old American well as the club's U23 general manager.
Hoppe joined Schalke in July 2019 from the Barcelona Residency Academy in the USA, and after playing for the club's U19s in his first season in Germany, was promoted to the reserve side, the U23s, at the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
The Yorba Linda native registered one goal and one assist in 16 outings in Germany's fourth tier, but was invited to train with the senior side in late 2020 owing to an injury to Goncalo Paciencia and the impending departure of veteran forward Vedad Ibisevic.
Watch: Hoppe's hat-trick for Schalke on Matchday 15
Hoppe's Bundesliga debut soon followed on Matchday 9 in a 4-1 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach, but he truly made the global football community sit up and take notice of his talents this past weekend when he scored a hat-trick to end Schalke’s 30-game winless run in the league in a 4-0 win over Hoffenheim that lifted them off the foot of the table.
"I know his weaknesses but I also know what he excels at - namely his absolute desire in front of goal and his composure," said Asamoah, who scored 61 goals in 359 appearances for Schalke between 1999 and 2010, and six in 43 caps for Germany, in an interview with kicker.
The U23 general manager, who has held the role since November 2016, was impressed with Hoppe's Man of the Matchday display against Hoffenheim on Saturday, "not only because he took all three of his goals well, but because he is constantly developing. He's able to do that because he constantly questions himself. And you can see where that can lead."
Watch: Hoppe reflects on hat-trick heroics
Namely to Hoppe becoming the first American ever to score a hat-trick in the Bundesliga, and while his goals could prove invaluable to the first team in their bid to avoid relegation, Asamoah believes they will also serve to spur on his charges in the Schalke academy.
"He's an inspiration in every respect for all young players, and especially for my players in the U23s. They've now seen again that the path to the first team is always open to them - that's historically been the case at Schalke perhaps more than at many other clubs."