Aug. 23, 2010
BERKELEY - Each week, CalBears.com will feature a freshman women's soccer player, and this week's participant is goalkeeper Emily Kruger. According to head coach Neil McGuire, Kruger is an outstanding shot stopper who distributes the ball well from both her feet and her hands, which coupled with her great drop kick, will make Kruger at catalyst for the Cal attack. Hailing from nearby Woodside, Calif., Kruger joins the Bears as a contender in the starting goalkeeper race. Heavily involved in her high school's extracurricular activities, Kruger was the senior class vice president as well as member of the Pink Ribbon Club, Students Offering Support program and co-president of the Invisible Children club, which raises money, resources and awareness for the impoverished children living in Uganda. CalBears.com caught up with the 5-11 freshman to find out more about her.
CalBears.com: What made you choose Cal?
Emily Kruger: I really wanted to play soccer for a successful Division I school where I could also get a solid education. Cal not only has these two factors, but it's also located in Berkeley, which is only the coolest place to live. It's also only 40 minutes away from my hometown. There was no reason for me to look anywhere else.
CalBears.com: Do you have any unique stories about yourself that set you apart from your teammates?
EK: I had a phenomenal run with my club team (DeAnza Force) in the summer of 2009 all the way to the U.S. Youth National Championships in Massachusetts. We came in as the wild card from Region IV, after losing to the SoCal Blues in the final of regionals. We were the obvious underdog of the tournament. After our first win over the defending champions from Texas, we had to face the Blues. They were leading, 2-1, with 10 minutes to go when they were awarded a penalty kick due to a handball in the box. Not only did I stop the shot, but the ricocheted ball landed at my forward's feet. She took off down the field beating the one defender in her path and then the goalkeeper for the equalizer. The game ended, 2-2. Then, after we each had one more opening-round game, we were tied with the Blues for points except that our goal differential gave us the tiebreaker. We went onto win the championship match, gaining the title national champions. It was an unforgettable run that began with state cup in March and ended with the title in July.
CalBears.com: What's your favorite part about Berkeley and/or the Cal campus?
EK: The atmosphere on and around campus never ceases to amaze me. I love the busy hurry of the top students in the world mixed in with the chill, hippy attitude that can be found on every street.
CalBears.com: What is the best thing about being a part of Cal women's soccer?
EK: The relationship you have with teammates is something that cannot be replicated with just any one person or any group of people. You work together on and off the field. The dependency on each other for success enables you to become a family. The fact that I get to be a part of something so special is simply the best thing about this experience.
CalBears.com: Did you grow up watching Cal athletics? What has it been like to represent them?
EK: I went to a number of Cal football games as a kid. My mom attended Haas School of Business for graduate school so she really enjoys coming back to Berkeley for the Big Game.
CalBears.com: What are you planning on or thinking of majoring in?
EK: I am interested in three majors: political science, peace and conflict studies or gender and women's studies. I'll take classes under all three and then make a decision going forward.
CalBears.com: What class are you most looking forward to this fall?
EK: Either Theater 60 (stagecraft) or Gender and Women's Studies 14 (gender, sexuality and race in global political issues).
CalBears.com: What were your initial impressions of Berkeley?
EK: I loved the busy streets and all of the cool sidewalk vendors. Also, I noticed the eclectic mix of delicious restaurants and immediately knew that this was the place for me.
CalBears.com: What would you like to be doing in ten years?
EK: I want to be living in a developing country, perhaps Uganda or Pakistan, educating children and empowering women.
CalBears.com: Who is your biggest hero?
EK: Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to hold a political position of power. He initiated the LGBT civil rights movement in the 1970s.
CalBears.com: Who would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with?
EK: Chris Martin, the lead singer of Coldplay.