New Orleans Jesters defender Johannes Forstpointer found a way to play soccer and study, unlike many of his peers in Europe.

And now, he’s in his second season with the Jesters, a vital part of the team’s run this season, continuing with Saturday night’s match against Rocket City FC. The match at Pan American Stadium starts at 7 p.m.

The Jesters (4-1-2) are atop the Southeast Conference standings of the National Premier Soccer League with 14 points. Rocket City FC is 1-2-1.

In 2010, Forstpointer left Germany for William Carey in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Back home, students with athletic skills must decide between schooling or soccer academies.

He wanted both.

“I wasn’t in a rush to become a pro, then the opportunity came to study and play on a high level,” said Forstpointer, now in his second season with the Jesters.

When he first arrived, he didn’t know anybody in the South, didn’t speak English well.

Other times, he didn’t know when to speak.

“Sometimes I didn’t greet people back because I wasn’t used to it,” he said, laughing. “People thought I was rude.”

As a top attacking defender, sometimes a fullback for the Jesters, he offers a vital dimension on the field. His 60- and 70-yard runs keep opposing defenders stretched, debating whether to mark him to stay tight. Either way, the Jesters are at an advantage.

When he makes those runs, he’s able to work with Jesters midfielder Phil Dean to substitute roles as they work to create openings in final third of the field.

“I don’t have to be a guy that scores all the goals to feel good about my game,” he said. “Sometimes I’m just happy to get a good tackle before someone else scores. In America, people pay most of their attention on the scorers.

“(But) defenders are cool.”

This season, the Jesters have allowed nine goals.

On June 13, the Jesters beat Rocket City FC 3-2 in Huntsville, Alabama. Dean finished with two goals and one assist.