Junior David Rosenthal was not only an All-American last year, he helped the St. Olaf men’s soccer team advance to the second round of the NCAA postseason.
(credit: St. Olaf Sports Information)

David Rosenthal pushes the boundaries of the term exceptional.

Not only was the forward the StarTribune and Pioneer Press Player of the Year coming out of Apple Valley High School, he excelled at the next level, too.

The St. Olaf College men’s soccer standout led the MIAC with 14 goals scored last year, en route to being the only sophomore named to the 2011 Division III All-American roster.

David Rosenthal (credit: St. Olaf Sports Information)

Still, the pre-med junior — who believes his Oles are national-title contenders — pushes the definition of eclectic even more.

He may be the only person to ever profess love of both “Lord of the Rings” and Wiz Khalifa in the same breath.

“I’m a pretty big nerd with ‘Lord of the Rings.’ I’ve seen the movies 20 times each,” he said. “And in terms of music, that stems from high school soccer days. I’m a big rap fan.”

However, like many other selfless stars, Rosenthal puts “we” before “me.” He’s most proud of helping St. Olaf advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Oles won the 2011 regular season title with a 7-2-1 mark in the MIAC. But it was Rosenthal’s two goals in the MIAC tournament championship that topped crosstown Northfield rival Carleton 3-2, guaranteeing his team’s ticket to the NCAA postseason.

As for 2012? St. Olaf is ranked No. 1 in the coach’s poll to start the 2012 campaign and seems set to take the conference and return to the national playoffs yet again.

Yes, Rosenthal admits spending free time watching Lionel Messi highlights on YouTube and viewing every Arsenal game, but he’s also working about twice a week as a medical scribe at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, Minn.

“I follow doctors around, write everything down about the patient’s history and symptoms, and fill out the medical records in the computer,” he said. “It is a bit tougher than expected – doctors can talk pretty fast. It’s a mix of a puzzle and a job.”

Rosenthal also spilled on his hopes of one day competing in the international Maccabi Games, spreading Jewish pride through athletic competition.

So, will it be med school or more soccer after graduation?
I plan to apply to medical school. But I’m also going to try and explore my options in soccer. I wouldn’t be opposed to playing semi-pro and seeing how it goes. It’d be a league or two under the MLS.

Tell a bit more about the Maccabi Games?
I’m Jewish and it’s a Jewish Olympics of sorts. Tryouts are this winter in LA for the games held next summer in Israel. I’d play for the U.S. men’s team and it’d be really fun.

David Rosenthal is pre-med and spends two days a week as a scribe at the St. Francis Regional Medical Center. (credit: St. Olaf Sports Information)

Does school (Rosenthal has a 3.43 GPA) come easier for you than soccer?
I love learning about the sciences, but soccer is definitely more enjoyable.

How would your teammates describe you?
Probably a leader, intense and friendly.

Were you surprised at your individual success last year?
I was extremely surprised I got All-American. I remember getting a text from a buddy that said, “Congratulations.” Then I checked my email and saw my coach telling me I was All-American.
For me, the focus is getting us into the national title game. If the individual awards come, they come, but it’s not as nice as a championship ring.

Was there ever pressure being the Player of the Year out of high school? Any Division I interest?
A little bit of pressure, and starting as a freshman … the expectations were high for me to succeed. And I didn’t get much attention from D-I schools. My mom and sister went to St. Olaf, and because it seemed like somewhere I could excel academically and have a good balance here, I chose St. Olaf.

Favorite Olaf experience so far?
When I had the winning goal against Carleton in the conference championship – all of my friends rushed the field and it was an amazing feeling. I’ll never forget it.

This is the scene David Rosenthal describes as his favorite St. Olaf moment — when the crowd celebrated his team’s win over crosstown rival Carleton for the automatic NCAA tournament berth. (credit: St. Olaf Sports Information)