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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

From the local spotlight to the international stage

Since graduating from West High, former boys’ soccer player Bennet Luethje ’15, has taken his expertise as a performance analyst locally and abroad.
Bennet+Luethje+works+as+a+performance+analyst+for+the+National+Women%E2%80%99s+Soccer+League%E2%80%99s+%28NWSL%29+San+Diego+Wave.+
Yaya Orszula
Bennet Luethje works as a performance analyst for the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) San Diego Wave.

Feel like you’ll never get out of Iowa? Want to travel the world? West High alum Bennet Luethje ’15 did just that. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a minor in Japanese from the University of Iowa, Luethje traveled to Japan to become a performance analyst for soccer teams there. A few years later, he’s a performance analyst for the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) San Diego Wave.

As a West High varsity soccer player, Luethje knew he wasn’t good enough to go pro, but he still wanted soccer to be a part of his life. At first, he thought the only thing he could do was coach, but after speaking to mentors during his time in Japan, he realized his passion for data analysis.

“At the time, I thought the only thing in soccer was about coaching,” Luethje said. ”[Performance analysis] pretty much combines your knowledge of soccer with your knowledge of how to interpret and how to create data, so I thought those are the two best things that I think I can do.”

Bennet Luethje records the San Diego Wave’s games and provides data to the head coach to be used in practice. (Courtesy of Bennet Luethje)

Luethje also points to his former (and current West High) coach, Brad Stiles, as an influence on his career decision.

“Brad would have an analysis session saying like, okay, the opposition do this. They have this really good player,” he said.

Although Luethje admits his degree doesn’t have much to do with what he does now, he emphasizes that his minor in Japanese got him into jobs overseas.

“I’ll be honest, the University of Iowa major didn’t have a direct impact on the job that I have currently. But what I will say is, because I got my international relations degree and minor in Japanese, it opened the door for me to go to Japan,” Luethje said.

Bennet Luethje poses (#19) poses in the 2014 West High boys’ soccer team poster. (Yaya Orszula)

After graduating, Luethje coached a boys soccer academy team in Tokyo and later moved on to Japan’s professional league, the J League. There, he held many titles, such as interpreter, head coach, assistant coach and performance analyst, sometimes simultaneously.

Returning to Iowa during COVID, he worked many small jobs to make money, like coaching teams in the local Iowa Soccer Club (ISC.) Although he found his groove in the performance analysis field, he notes that his coaching experience helped him fulfill his current duties.

“Being a coach helped me realize how analysis can be useful and how to interpret information to players as easy as possible,” Luethje said. “Coaching made me realize that analysis can be beneficial for players and there’s a deeper field to pursue.”

After a year with the Iowa Women’s Soccer team as a performance analyst, Luethje accepted the same job with the Wave in February 2023. He works with coaches to make game plans and how to improve in practice.

“I analyze opposition. About how they play, what kind of weakness that they have, how can we beat them essentially,” Luethje said. “Then I also do analysis on ourselves like we did this well, we didn’t do this well, and I tried to support it with both video and data.”

Now that he has found his niche, Luethje plans to continue pursuing his passion as a performance analyst. His journey has been anything but straightforward, but the one constant from his high school years to life now is soccer.

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About the Contributor
Yaya Orszula
Yaya Orszula, Sports Editor
(she/her) Yaya is a senior and this is her second year on staff. She is the sports editor and enjoys running cross country and track, making bracelets and rock climbing.
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