Schalke's American striker Matthew Hoppe has become actively involved in the club’s charity arm, 'Schalke hilft!', saying he has been inspired to "give something back to the club and the people of Gelsenkirchen".
The 20-year-old joined the Royal Blues in July 2019, and after impressing in the U19s, was promoted to the first team in November 2020.
The California native made his Bundesliga debut against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 9, the first of 16 league appearances this term. He truly announced his arrival as a professional in style on Matchday 15, hitting a hat-trick in a 4-0 thrashing of Hoffenheim - Schalke's only Bundesliga win so far this season.
Watch: Hoppe's treble for Schalke against Hoffenheim
He followed that up with goals in the team's next two games, against Eintracht Frankfurt and Cologne, to become the side's top scorer in the Bundesliga in 2020/21. The Schalke No. 43 was rewarded for his progression and hard-working displays with a first professional contract in early February, tying him to the club until June 2023.
And now, as a way of expressing his gratitude, Hoppe has become involved with the charity 'Schalke hilft!' (Schalke helps). He has made a financial contribution to an initiative providing warm meals for homeless people in the Gelsenkirchen region, while he has also donated towards courses being held on a local football pitch.
"I wanted to give something back to the club and the people in the region, especially the people in Gelsenkirchen," Hoppe told the club's website. "That's why I reached out to 'Schalke hilft!' and I'm very happy to contribute a little towards improving the living conditions of a lot of people in need. In doing so I want to show the club and the city how grateful I am to them."
Watch: Meeting Matthew Hoppe
Hoppe was also keen to help out on-site in person, but current restrictions mean he is unable to do so at present.
"I'm really pleased that Schalke players continue to commit to social causes for our club and our city," said Sebastian Buntkirchen, director of the 'Schalke hilft!' foundation.
"Matthew's donation supports people that need our help. In a city like Gelsenkirchen, which has been hit very hard by structural changes, such a donation is worth its weight in gold."