Westfield native takes his brother with him in spirit to Tokyo Olympics

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Standing at 6-feet-5 and 230 pounds with a recognizable hairstyle, Joe Schroeder is a civil engineer who enjoys sailing in his free time, was a college cheerleader, and a rugby standout who earned a roster spot on Team USA.

“There is such a deep sense of pride,” Joe’s mother Susan Schroeder said. “Joe is full of grit and determination, he always chased his dreams, and this is one of his biggest ever. He has been relentless.”

The most recent addition to Schroeder’s robust resume reads “member of TEAM USA Eagles rugby sevens squad.”

Beginning at age 15, he collected a few rings at Cathedral High School.

“And as he moved onto college, he decided to go to Trine (University) for civil engineering, and they did not have a rugby program,” Jim Schroeder said. “So, he just decided not to play sports. Sophomore year there was a call out for cheerleading, and Joe showed up and said he was interested in it.”

“I started hitting the gym a lot because I started throwing people in the air,” Joe Schroeder said. “Um, so, you know, I was going to put on 20ish, 30 pounds, you know, through my college career.”

Eventually, the national team got wind of Joe’s rugby gift while he was playing for a club team after graduation. 

Since 2017, he has been in California, earning his roster spot.

“To get to this level through all the adversity that he’s been through,” Jim Schroeder said. “We are just so proud of him and proud of the whole family.”

Joe Schroeder will proudly represent Trine University as their first-ever Olympian; he’s also one of two Cathedral grads to compete on the world’s biggest stage. 

And the central Indiana star should be easy to spot on the rugby field in Tokyo thanks to his unique hairstyle, which serves a special meaning for the entire Schroeder family.

“My brother Will, unfortunately, we lost a year and a half ago,” Joe Schroeder said. “He loved to rock mullets. That was kind of his hairstyle. And he did it, he rocked it the best, and he was obviously a big supporter of mine. He loved watching me, loved, loved the fact that I was, on the USA team.”

“Just to honor him a little bit, it (mullet) comes on the back. So, he’s going to be covering my back out there.”

Schroeder’s Olympic debut is Sunday night when the United States takes on Kenya.