Baldwin Senior Kris Plumhoff has been a goal-scoring machine for the Heart of America Conference champion Baker soccer team this season. Yet he intended to give up the sport four years ago.
Plumhoff's disenchantment began after he tried out for the U.S. Junior National team.
"That was like my whole dream, to wear the USA jersey," Plumhoff said.
A total of 22 players were selected and he placed 26th, making him an alternate.
"The guys that they picked ahead of me were a lot better, so that was real discouraging. It was kind of like I peaked there, that was the best I could do, and I didn't make it. So I kind of got burned out from there."
PLUMHOFF GRADUATED from Shawnee Mission West in 1986, where he led the Sunflower League in goals twice and also captained two State Cup Championship teams. But his failure to make the national team still lingered.
So, despite being offered soccer scholarships at Michigan State, West Point, Bowling Green and Rockhurst, he abandoned the sport he had played since third grade, and attended KU for the next two years.
"I just decided I didn't want to play soccer anymore. I wanted to go get my degree, have fun and get out."
Plumhoff changed his mind his junior year and decided to play for the KU Soccer Club. One of his teammates was Sean Holmes, the current Baker soccer coach. That year Holmes and Plumhoff became friends and roommates.
Then, in the summer of '89, Holmes became the soccer coach at Baker and asked Plumhoff if he'd be interested in becoming a Wildcat.
"I WAS kind of in a rut," he said. "I was just tired of going to KU, I mean, it wasn't really the school so much as I just needed a change. So it worked out well."
In the fall of '89, Plumhoff transferred.
"At first I thought, `A school with only 800 students, oh God'. But it's very easy to get involved here. I write for the paper, I work in the SID's office and then, of course, there's soccer."
Yes, soccer. The sport in which Plumhoff has scored a district record 28 goals. He also has four assists.
Plumhoff is considering the possiblity of extending his soccer career after he gradutes in May with a degree in business financing.
"At the beginning of the season I would have said there's not a chance. Now that I have restored confidence in my game I might want to go to Canada and try and play outdoors, or see if I can get drafted by the MSL," he said.
And, since the World Cup is here in 1994, there's always that possibility.
"Hey, ya never know," he said, smiling.