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Eli Hoff bids farewell as he leaves our site

July 3, 2019 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - E Pluribus Loonum managing editor Eli Hoff and other journalists stand for the national anthem prior to kickoff of the Minnesota United vs San Jose Earthquakes match at Allianz Field.
July 3, 2019 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - E Pluribus Loonum managing editor Eli Hoff (middle, gray shirt) and other journalists stand for the national anthem prior to kickoff of the Minnesota United vs San Jose Earthquakes match at Allianz Field.
(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Wow. It feels weird to be doing this, but it’s time:

Effective tomorrow, I’ll no longer be the managing editor here at E Pluribus Loonum.

Most importantly, you (the readers) won’t experience any content interruptions. We’ve prepared for the transition to make things go as smoothly as possible. There are great things in store for this little corner of the internet, and I’m excited to watch them happen with you all.

I’m stepping away from Loonum because it’s time for me to take the next step in both my life and career. I’m excited to be attending the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism this fall, and for that reason, my focus needs to shift.

I’ve got so many reasons to be thankful for my time here and the opportunities I’ve had, so I want to take this final byline to deliver a few (okay, a bunch of) thank-you’s.

I started writing for Loonum when I was 15 years old, halfway through my sophomore year of high school. Needless to say, I couldn’t have done it without the support and blessing of my parents. They’ve been willing to get me excused from school to attend events and drive me around when they feel an event is beyond the capabilities of a teenage driver. They’ve understood that my work covering Minnesota United is a dream come true, and they’ve been so important and helpful in everything I’ve accomplished. Thank you.

They’re not the only people close to me who have been a part of this. My grandparents have diligently refreshed our home page so that they don’t miss a byline. Family members, friends and teachers have given me and soccer a little bit of their attention. I’m lucky to have people in my corner who support me and what I do. Thank you.

Plenty of people took a chance on me when I decided I wanted to give sports journalism a try without any real experience, but three stood out from the get-go. Based on a few basic writing samples, Tyler Birschbach, Garrett Denney and Nate Siems brought me onboard as a contributor here. I don’t think they knew they had accepted a high schooler, but they were amazing editors who’ve been helpful far beyond their time here. Thank you.

Along those same lines, SB Nation soccer managers Jeremiah Oshan and Alicia Rodriguez took a giant chance by promoting me to the managing editor post last January. I still can’t believe they were willing to hand so much control over to a 16-year-old kid. They’ve given me the freedom to try new things and the resources and help for me to be successful. Thank you.

I’ve worked with so many talented contributors here. Ashle Norling has been a stalwart, leading our local soccer coverage and stepping into United work as well. Zak Lippert, Colin O’Donnell, Jacob Schneider and John Stephenson have put their versatility on full display, doing everything from in-person reporting to analysis pieces. Tim McLaughlin and Seth Steffenhagen are unbelievably talented photographers, and we’re lucky that they lend that talent to us. Tim Abbott and DJ Bisogno do amazing and dedicated work with our local soccer team. Gustavo Navarrete has helped us expand into Spanish-langauge content and Tris Bisgrove and Bremen Keasey are allowing our site to go ever-so-slightly Full Mingo. Of course, we’ve had plenty of other contributors on board over this site’s two-and-a-half-year history, too many to accurately list out here. They’ve all combined to make this a special outlet, and created a highly entertaining Slack channel. Thank you.

When I first started here, I set myself the goal of covering a United game from the press box before I turned 18. I couldn’t have become a credentialed media member and semi-regular among the press corps without Minnesota United’s fantastic communications department. Eric Durkee and Gabriela Lozada (and Jessica Lopez, who’s moved on to MLS-ier things) allowed me to really enter the world of journalism and have always been helpful. That access is rarely afforded to young reporters, so without them, I know this wouldn’t have come to very much at all. Thank you.

I’ve had no shortage of talented journalists to look up to over these last couple of years. My fellow press box front row-ers Kyle Eliason, Andy Greder, Bridget McDowell, David Naylor, Jeff Rueter, Megan Ryan and Jerry Zgoda make the Loons the best-covered team in the league. They’ve all been helpful with advice when I’ve needed it and respectful of my work, which means a lot. Thank you.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s you: the reader. You’ve stuck with me for 380 bylines, which adds up to more thousands of words than are worth reading. There have been a lot of great rides (and bad takes) on Twitter, and plenty of fun articles to write as well. For a 15-year-old kid to try being a journalist and, two and a half years later, end up with a realized dream and an unforgettable experience, it takes something special. That’s what this — Loonum, Minnesota United and all of you — has been for me, and I’ll be forever thankful. Thank you.

I don’t know exactly what’ll come next for me, but I’m excited to get started at MU’s J-School in a couple of weeks. If you can handle a little bit of Mizzou and miscellaneous soccer content in your timeline — plus whatever else comes my way — feel free to follow me on Twitter @byEliHoff. I promise it won’t be too tedious.

Come on you Loons and M-I-Z!