Patryk rises to the challenge
Arklow man’s starring role for Panthers in Chicago
PATRYK Kibler - “I am the kind of person who looks for big challenges in life and when I set my goals, I always make sure to do everything I can to achieve them”.
Morton College Panthers are a college soccer team based in Chicago, Illinois.
In recent weeks they have secured their first conference title in eleven years and are currently enjoying the college’s longest winning streak in history having chalked up their fourteenth win in a row last week.
Their reward for this is a well-deserved place in the regional play-offs as top seeds with home advantage secured as well.
A central figure within the team and the young man who has been handed the responsibility of the captain’s armband for the current season is Arklow man Patryk Kibler.
A native of Poland, Patryk moved to Ireland at a young age attending Arklow C.B.S and it wasn’t long before he found his way to the local football club, Arklow Town F.C whom he signed for at just twelve years of age.
After an enjoyable six year stint honing his skills and learning his trade, Kibler joined Greystones United where he picked up invaluable Leinster Senior League experience before moving stateside.
The scholarship programme that he was offered and is now enjoying in Chicago required hard work and dedication in abundance with only four places being offered from an initial group of sixty four aspiring athletes.
“The entire process in order to get where I am right now took a lot of dedication and hard work.” explained Kibler about the scholarship.
“Firstly, I had to attend open trials for every college in Dublin from which a selection of players got invited then for an interview and further trials in Glasgow.
“The next round was in England, St George’s Park and that was the stage where all of the main college scouts from America were attending.
“There were 64 players competing on the day and only 4 of us received offers including myself. After succeeding in both showcase matches, I was asked to sit an SAT exam which is a requirement in order to study in America. After receiving my exam scores I was then able to complete my offer acceptance with Morton College. That is how I have got to where I am now and for the next few years as well hopefully.”
In August of this year as one of the lucky four, the 21-yearold Wicklow man moved to Chicago to begin his journey that he hopes will one day lead to a professional contract within the MLS (the top professional league in the US.) From lecture halls to the gym and straight to the training ground each evening, 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I am the kind of person who looks for big challenges in life and when I set my goals, I always make sure to do everything I can to achieve them.
“I always tell myself if it is hard and challenging, it means I am going in the right direction. I could not do any of this without the huge support I have behind my back from my family, friends and especially my girlfriend Laura who represented Wick- low in this year’s Miss Bikini Ireland competition. We both have the same drive and hunger for success and we keep each other going”
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression but with the notable first impression Kibler is making since August there won’t be any second chances needed. Just a few weeks after touching down in Chicago Patryk was awarded the senior captaincy for the current season becoming the first freshman in college history to be awarded the honour of the captain’s armband.
With such an admirable drive and hunger for success the midfielder has so far led by example as captain and is relishing his new role with the team enjoying their first conference title success in eleven years, the regional play-offs to come and currently riding the crest of a wave with the longest winning streak the soccer team has ever managed.
“To be appointed captain so early on in my journey is such an honour for me and also as it is the first time an international freshman has been recognized with this at Morton College.” reflected Kibler regarding his new role as captain.
“Leading by example both on and off the field is something I really enjoy with the captaincy role being something I have worked so hard to be offered. I am not going to lie; becoming a captain after pre-season was my first ambition for the season. Now that I have achieved that, I am now focusing on the next set of goals that I have set myself and that we have set out as a team.
“Our team this year is already being named one of the most talented NJCAA football team in a long time and contenders to win the National final in Florida.
“Just like every player I have my own individual goals this year. I want to become an MVP of the season and be placed in the best National eleven of the year. Even though that is what I want, I do not think about it too much because the most important thing for us now is the team and the play-offs and for us to finish what we have started.”
With the conference title wrapped up and the play-offs set to commence in the coming weeks the expectations are high for Patryk Kibler and his Morton College side. You somewhat get the feeling that this is only the beginning of the young midfielders journey.
“My long-term goal is to sign a professional contract for an MLS team and trust me it will happen. Like I said before, I take it step by step, my next step is to go to a four-year university and be drafted for the MLS showcase tournament. From there we will see what is next. I did not work so hard my all life to come where I am now and slow down, I will keep working hard and keep setting new goals for myself as each one is achieved.”
Patryk Kibler from Arklow, who is captain of the Morton College Panthers.