Krueger signs with Spalding SoccerApril 27, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — The Krueger Family has spent a lot of time on the road through the years.
As if it wasn’t a lot with Blake and Melanie Krueger taking their son, Cal, all over to play baseball, they've done the same for their daughter, Kara, with soccer.
“We made a lot of family trips, put a lot of miles on vehicles,” Blake said.
And yet, success has followed both of them in their athletic endeavors. Cal helped Jasper baseball claim Class 3A state runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2015 before he continued his baseball career at Indiana University.
Kara, meanwhile, helped the Wildcats win back-to-back sectional championships on the soccer field in 2019 and 2020, and now she’ll be off to continue her soccer career at Spalding University (Ky.), having signed letter of intent Tuesday morning.
“I chose Spalding because Spalding got two new turf fields, which is really a good encouragement for me,” Kara said. “It’s really beautiful.”
Kara is also very serious about nursing, which she will be majoring in. She appreciates the flexibility she will get to focus on both nursing and soccer while she’s at Spalding, as she’ll continue to play a sport she’s played for so long.
“I’ve been playing soccer ever since I grew up,” she said. “Cal grew up playing soccer. So, I joined soccer when I was probably around four — like an actual league, and I love the physicality of it, the competitiveness.”
She’s grown into someone who’s also thinking what to do next with the ball when she’s out on the field. Kara’s mind is always thinking about the next move before she gets the ball, and she asks herself where she needs to be.
Jasper girls soccer coach Michael Donato spoke before the crowd at Kara's signing, telling the audience that he’s said everything there is to say about her.
“She’s so confident in what she does out there that that spreads to all the players around her,” Donato told the Herald. “Everybody wants to give the ball to her, and she does something with it. She’s an incredible striker, an incredible scorer on the field. It’s going to be hard to replace her, put it that way.”
Kara especially shined in the playoffs for Jasper this past fall. The Wildcats lost seven of their first nine games, only to find their way when it got to the postseason. She netted a hat trick in the sectional championship win against Vincennes Lincoln, and Jasper made it to the regional championship game after her two goals gave the Wildcats the 2-1 upset over Heritage Hills in the regional opener.
She took it upon herself as a captain and as a leader to get some of her varsity teammates who didn’t have a lot, if any, varsity experience, to play harder and better with less mistakes in order to win games.
Kara is hoping her speed, physicality and soccer IQ can contribute to helping the Eagles win games, and she’ll have a lot of work to do before she gets there.
“I’m going to run and work out to make sure I’m getting stronger and faster — work on speed, having that endurance,” she said. “I’m going to work on shooting, touches and stuff — just to get work on having good touches and shooting skills and everything like that to be more accurate.”
As for her parents, their road trips will be more confined now when watching their daughter play.
“They’re in what's called the SLIAC (St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), which is kind of unique because it’s a St. Louis-based conference — even though they’re from Louisville,” Blake said. “So, almost every road trip now will be to St. Louis.”
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