Nathan Steinwascher has lived a kind of double life over the last three years: By day, he’s a mild-mannered accountant, working with numbers and data, but at night, he is a fierce protector of a small-but-important square of grass.
“It’s crazy to think about,” Steinwascher said. “I’m just so grateful to have the opportunity.”
A senior consultant in Plante Moran’s Transaction Advisory Services department by day, at night Steinwascher excels as Detroit City Football Club’s goalkeeper.
For most people, balancing work and play is a demanding act. But it doesn’t faze Steinwascher. Rather, the balance comes naturally to him, as soccer has long been a fixture in his life.
Steinwascher juggled club teams and his high school squad at Sterling Heights Stevenson and found a way to make it through the gauntlet of collegiate studies while playing soccer at Detroit Mercy.
Starring in net for the Titans from 2011-15, Steinwascher left Detroit Mercy atop the leaderboard of several program records, including tied for first in career shutouts (19) and second in wins (27) and goals against average (1.23). He picked up several accolades — Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year and the Detroit Mercy athletic department’s President Award, for starters — all while earning a bachelor of science in Accounting and an MBA from the University.
Bringing out more
“The balance that I had to maintain while playing and travelling during the fall semester allowed me to prepare for the lifestyle I have now,” Steinwascher said. “When we dedicated 20-30 hours during the week to full-time soccer, I had 15-18 credits per semester and oftentimes had to complete homework sitting on a bus traveling to and from away games. I also think the smaller class sizes prepared me because the professors held us student-athletes more accountable in classes.”
Detroit Mercy’s values-based education had a profound impact on Steinwascher’s life. He focuses on two Latin phrases that are key characteristics of Jesuit values: magis and cura personalis.
Magis, which means “more” or “greater,” urges Steinwascher to strive to be his best self in every walk of life.
“When I entered the professional environment in accounting, I wanted to make sure I gave myself the best chance to succeed from the beginning,” Steinwascher said. “As I transition throughout the week from the desk to the soccer field, I try and take the same attitude and approach toward those opportunities as well, always trying to learn from the coaches and other players.
“I think the most important part in growing as a person and professional is being able to observe and learn from the people around you to give yourself the best chance at being successful.”
The personal meaning of the distinctly Jesuit mission of cura personalis, Latin for “care for the whole person,” has evolved for Steinwascher over the years.
“This ties into how I carry myself daily, but has developed as I have grown as a person,” Steinwascher said. “I think what this means to me is that everyone has their own experiences in life, and to develop a level of respect for each and every person you cross paths with. By doing so, it has allowed me to develop great relationships with great people.”
Nose to the grindstone
Working full-time and playing professional soccer is a unique challenge. But Steinwascher, in his fourth season with DCFC, manages the load with a firm support group, consisting of his family, fiancé, friends and employer.
“I think the passion for everything I do in life makes it that much easier, because I enjoy the work I do and I love playing soccer,” Steinwascher said. “It’s a lifestyle that I’ve enjoyed throughout my life, balancing soccer around my schedule.”
Steinwascher’s typical week during DCFC’s season allows for him to maximize both soccer and work.
From Monday-Wednesday and on Friday, he works from 8 a.m. to about 6:30 p.m., allowing an hour for a workout.
Thursday is dedicated to training and Steinwascher works from home 7:30 to 10 a.m., exercises from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and finishes his work from 1-7 p.m.
Saturday is typically match day for DCFC. During home matches, Steinwascher eats his pre-game meal, goes to team meetings and completes his preparations for the contest. Away matches offer a similar dynamic, with the exception of working between team events throughout the day preceding the contest.
Come Sunday, Steinwascher is ready to relax, enjoy time with his family and friends and preparing for another week of living his dream.
Plante Moran’s flexibility is vital to Steinwascher’s foray in professional soccer. Co-founder Frank Moran’s mantra — “the whole person comes to work” — struck a chord with Steinwascher, who with the firm’s support and permission, spent three months in Sweden playing for Grythyttans IF in 2018.
After climbing DCFC’s goalkeeping depth chart during the National Premier Soccer League season — which runs from mid-May through July — Steinwascher seized the starting role at the beginning of Members Cup play in mid-August.
DCFC’s decision paid off and then some, as Steinwascher has been spectacular in net during the six-team tournament. His sixth shutout helped DCFC clinch the inaugural Members Cup championship on Oct. 16.
DCFC closes its season at home Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. against the Milwaukee Torrent.
Thankful for support
“The people within the firm have supported me in pursuing these opportunities with Detroit City FC from the start,” Steinwascher said. “I couldn’t be more grateful to work for such a great accounting firm, with such a great work-life balance.”
Steinwascher is savoring every moment of his rollercoaster-like double life. As the sport takes him from Detroit Mercy to DCFC, with even a short stay in Europe, he’s thankful he stayed committed to fulfilling his dream.
“I think it’s important to follow your passions,” Steinwascher said. “Of course, it’s going to take a lot of dedication and hard work, but there’s no limit to the effort you can put into your passions.
“I chase the dream because I can’t imagine accepting 15-20 years from now that I just gave up on it.”