Pa­tryk rises to the chal­lenge

Arklow man’s star­ring role for Pan­thers in Chicago

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - BRENDAN GRA­HAM

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.

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