In the end, it was a dream realized.

Senior Kai Thompson has always been close to the soccer team, in more ways than one.  During his first year at Colorado College, he tried out for the team and missed the cut.

The next two years, he was involved in the club hockey team, but it wasn’t the same as soccer.  “It was a different kind of experience,” said Thompson, “ more administration and keeping it organized rather than playing on the team and worrying about putting on a performance.”

Meanwhile, Kai kept active and kept soccer in his life.

He said, “I was playing intramural soccer, a little soccer on the side, but nothing too competitive until this summer, when I decided I was trying out again. I started playing more to try and step up my game.”

Intramurals are great, and keep people active and close to the sports they love, but they are simply a different experience than playing competitively for a school, where the atmosphere and camaraderie cannot be found anywhere else.

“I definitely missed the competitive soccer,” said Thompson. “I loved playing IM, but nothing compares to competing and practicing on a daily basis, and that’s something I missed from high school and wanted to experience again.”

Throughout his time away from soccer, Thompson also kept close to several players on the team.  He said it as those friends, specifically Andrew Salazar and Hunter, who in Thompson’s words, “really encouraged me to try out again.”

So this summer, Kai started a new training regimen.  He says it was, “mostly just lifting and running,” but also that he has taken off a lot of weight, which has benefited his play.

“In high school, I had a different playing style because of my weight, but it did keep me out of shape. Now that I’m way lighter, I have adapted a different playing style,” Thompson said. “I’m a little more agile.”

Changing his regiment and style of play got Kai ready to go back to tryouts at the start of this year.  This time, he made it.

He says that the experience has been really rewarding.

“The guys have been very welcoming on the team.  It’s honestly just great to be on the team and practicing again every day, be on the sidelines for the games, and overall just seeing my game improve.”

The sports we love have a habit of sticking with us.

Maybe they are always with us; maybe they wait patiently for us to return.  For Thompson, the wait was three years long, but he’s back now playing soccer again with his friends and teammates for Colorado College.

“I’m so pumped to be playing soccer again. Especially D3 soccer at CC,” Thompson wrote in an Aug. 20 Facebook post.

You can catch your 6-4-2 Tigers in action once again here in Colorado Springs on Oct. 18 against Schreiner University.

Nick Brown, Sports Editor

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