First year player starts as varsity goalie

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First year player starts as varsity goalie

In a game vs. Blue Valley West on Sept. 1, senior Riley Dougan punts the soccer ball.

In a game vs. Blue Valley West on Sept. 1, senior Riley Dougan punts the soccer ball.

In a game vs. Blue Valley West on Sept. 1, senior Riley Dougan punts the soccer ball.

In a game vs. Blue Valley West on Sept. 1, senior Riley Dougan punts the soccer ball.

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Going out for any sport and trying to make varsity is a challenge. Doing that in your final year of high school after not having played in years is nearly impossible. That’s exactly what senior Riley Dougan did this year. He hadn’t played soccer on an organized team since sixth grade, but he’s re-entered the sport of soccer in a big way: as the starting goalie for the varsity team.

“Pretty much all the guys I knew at this school were playing soccer,” Dougan said. “So since I was moving to a new school, I thought it’d be fun to hang out with everyone I kind of already knew and make a couple new friends.”

When going out for a sport for the first time in your high school career there are bound to be difficulties.

“Learning how to play soccer has been a challenge.” Dougan said.

“Learning how to play goalie,” senior Mitchell Paul said, butting in.

“Okay, cause goalie doesn’t count as soccer, I guess.” Dougan said, firing back at Paul.

Learning to play soccer was a learning experience for Dougan but as the season has continued he improved.

“There was definitely a large learning curve at the beginning of the season, and then, I think, every game I’ve improved,” Dougan said. “Just figuring out what I’m suppose to do has been the hardest part.”

Luckily, Dougan hasn’t had to figure it all out on his own. Dougan has gotten some instruction from junior J.D. Bickley’s brother, Matt Bickley.

“He played goalie in college and he came to a couple of practices and taught me how to play goalie better and it’s been a lot better since then,” Dougan said.

His game has improved fast this season with some instruction and gained experience on the field, growing more comfortable as a goalie.

“It took him a while to get the feel for it. He’s very athletic, very coachable, works well with his teammates,” Head soccer coach Allen Chugg said. “He is very much supportive of his own team and they support him very well.”

Though this is Dougan’s first year at Kansas City Christian and first year being a part of the soccer team. He has made a great addition to the team.

“We played against Lansing and he made a really great save to send us into second overtime. That was legit,” senior Nate Streeter said. “Riley is legit.”

Streeter isn’t the only one captivated by Dougan’s athletic abilities.

“He’s honestly an animal. He has like absolutely no fear.” Senior Sam Peterson said. “He’ll go out into any challenge no matter if he thinks he’s going to win or he thinks he’s going to lose. He’s crazy. He just goes and gets the ball.”

Through his hard work in learning his position and excellent performances during games, Dougan continues to make fun one of his priorities while playing.

“My favorite part of the soccer team is how fun it is. It’s not a very high pressured sport for me because it’s not something–I mean I care about soccer–but it’s not something I played my whole life and so I don’t feel pressured to perform very highly in,” Dougan said. “It’s just something I get to go out and have fun and compete with friends and hang out with my boys.”

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