2012 was the first year that Niklas Gustav stepped onto the gridiron. A friend of his had started playing football and Nik found it interesting. He began to attend practices with his friend and then signed up for the team, not quite knowing what he was getting himself into. Football was an unknown game to Germany as Nik described.
The process of learning the game was just that for Nik, a process. Starting as a cornerback, moving to safety and then eventually to linebacker, Nik found his home on the defensive side of the ball. After playing for a couple years, he was getting more opportunities to play the game.
In 2014, Niklas was selected to play football for team Germany in Kuwait in the World Cup. After a number of tryouts to make the team, he had to make it through multiple camps in order to play in the World Cup.
Nik said that while there, they had to play some games at 11:30 P.M. because it was so hot during the day that they weren’t allowed outside during the day. In the days leading up to these late-night games, Nik said their whole day would have to be shifted back. Because of this, they would have to wake up at noon and would return to bed between 3 and 4 A.M.
This is just a small example of the things that Niklas has done for the game of football. Players in these situations need to have a passion for the game in order to make the life adjustments. Life adjustments were about to become regular for Nik. In 2015, after realizing that he may be good enough to play in the United States, Nik began to attend camps that private U.S. high schools were attending. These private schools were too expensive, but one school got him in contact with Aquinas High School in Southern California.
Following this, Niklas and his younger brother Joshka moved to California and lived with a family who was willing to take them in and this was set up through the school.
Niklas then attended high school at Aquinas and played football and threw shotput. Niklas owns the school and league record in the shotput throw. After playing football in high school, he was offered to play at Morningside College. Football is the reason Nik game to the U.S. and it’s the reason he has a college scholarship. Football presented Niklas with an opportunity to further his education here in the U.S..
It was here, at Morningside, that Niklas began to thrive immensely. He became a starter and leader on the defensive line and helped the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Mustangs clench their seventh, eighth and ninth straight GPAC conference titles. The passion he displays for football is also a reason for Nik being a key component in the Morningside Mustangs’ first NAIA National Football Championship in 2018.