TRAVERSE CITY — Across Lake Michigan and into Wisconsin, Kiley Kreple is following in her brother’s footsteps.
Kreple, a versatile three-year letterwinner for Traverse City West’s soccer team, signed to play with Wisconsin-Parkside, the same school where he brother Ben suited up for the Rangers’ men’s soccer team from 2006-09.
The decision to go to Parkside was fairly easy for Kreple as it was the only school to offer her a full-ride scholarship.
“The other schools that I was talking to, they weren’t able to match that (full ride),” said Kreple, who also was getting interest from Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Ferris State.
Being only lightly recruited isn’t something that has made Kreple bitter, however.
“I kind of hoped a couple other colleges would’ve offered me something, but I was happy to get a full-ride,” she said.
Kreple was able to get a first glimpse into her future school during trips to visit her brother prior to her high school years, never thinking she would be going there herself some day.
“I really like the school and their campus,” she said. “It’s the perfect size for me.”
The Rangers are getting a player who can fill a number of roles. Kreple started her career as a forward, then switched to center defense her sophomore year, where she’s led the Titans’ defense ever since. She remains an offensive threat as a defender. Last year she contributed seven goals and four assists, which was sixth overall in the Big North Conference.
“Ever since her freshman year she’s been a key component for our team. It’s hard to take her off the field. She leads the team across the board,” said West head coach Lauran Pinto. “In games where we’re down, if I need a little spark to try and catch up, I’ll put her up top. She’s really been invaluable. I need to have her everywhere on the field.”
Kreple feels her versatility is going to be her ticket to time on the field.
“I can play both defense or offense,” she said. “I have good speed and I’ve grown up playing soccer and watching my older brother play. I have good smarts on how the game works and what to do with the ball. My timing with soccer is pretty good.”
Now, Kreple can play her senior year with the Titans without having to worry about the distraction of where she’s going to be playing collegiately.
“It’s going to be fun, finishing out my senior year with my friends,” she said. “We’re obviously going to try and make it a good year so we can go out there and win the Big North Conference. Hopefully we can pull out a district win finally. The last three years we’ve got to the district finals and lost to Midland Dow. We’re hoping this year we can finally get to the point where we beat them.”