Senior’s past impacts soccer talent

Derek Blunt, Sports Editor

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The crowd screams for Glenbrook North. Lights shine down onto the field where senior Deng Deng Kur demands of his approaching teammate to leave the ball in the corner. Kur takes control of the ball, cuts to his left, sees a small opening between the goalkeeper and the post and fires a low stinger through a cluster of Glenbrook South players and into the net to put his team up 3-0.

Kur said he has exhibited many skills he fostered while growing up playing soccer in London. After he moved to the United States during the winter break of his freshman year, he improved as a soccer player. This year he tacked on 19 goals out of a team total of 107 and accumulated 11 assists which contributed to a record of 19-4-1.

Paul Vignocchi, boys soccer head coach, said Kur has developed into a stronger player physically and has become a leader this year.

“He’s just one of those kids that can take over a game when given the opportunity,” Vignocchi said.

    Senior Mason Rose said the players noticed Kur’s dominance on the field and new sense of leadership.

“He does what our team needs him to do: be vocal in the midfield, finish shots in the box and [have] a strong field presence,” Rose said.

Kur has also stepped up by helping the sophomore players become accustomed to the varsity level, according to Rose.

“He takes the sophomores aside when he knows they aren’t playing as well as they can and gets on them to help them improve,” Rose said.

Kur said he took on a leadership role on and off the field.

“Compared to last year, I’ve gotten better by growing in confidence, meeting more people and becoming more confident in my environment, so I’ve been able to sort of voice my opinion more,” Kur said.

     According to Kur, his desire to play soccer was partly influenced by his love for the game when he was a young boy playing in youth leagues in North London. His parents moved to London as refugees from Sudan because of the Second Sudanese Civil War, and Kur was born shortly after.

“I grew up playing soccer when I was very young because my two older brothers and parents went to London, and they kind of fell in love with the sport of soccer [which] then influenced me,” Kur said.

When he came to the United States, Kur lived with his older brother who coached for the Chicago Fire youth teams, and Kur said he was a huge source of motivation for him, but then his brother moved back to England.

“He was like a father figure to me,” said Kur. “I looked up to him. He used to take me to practice all the time, and he taught me a lot of things that will stay with me for the rest of my life. … He taught me to set goals and the steps to getting them accomplished.”

Kur said last summer when Kur’s brother moved back to England he wanted to finish his last two years of high school at GBN, so he has been living with a host family until graduation. Being in a family of six kids to now living as an only child was a big change.

At GBN, Kur started as a forward or offensive midfielder for the varsity team, and said he  enjoyed being part of such a close-knit team.

“My favorite part of being on the team has been the family aspect,” said Kur. “The whole team is like brothers. We all respect each other. We might make jokes and stuff, but at the end of the day, when it comes down to it, we all love each other, and we each have different strengths that we can bring to the field.”

With regards to his future in soccer, Kur said he hopes he will be able to stay involved with the sport and has gotten offers from DePauw University as well as Calvin College.

“Every kid’s dream is to become a professional soccer player, and that’s obviously my dream job,” said Kur. “I would love to play in college. It’s looking very realistic at this point.”

Vignocchi said Kur has become a star on and off the field.

“He [has gotten] a lot stronger in the offseason,” said Vignocchi. “He really dedicated himself to the weight room. He’s grown, and he’s just become a dangerous player. He’s a quiet leader. He practices hard. He pushes guys to become better. … He leads by example. He just makes everyone around him better.

Kur said he felt the team had a very successful season and is optimistic for the future.

“Our seniors were a great group of guys who worked hard for each other, and I believe that can translate into the next season for the juniors and sophomores,” Kur said.

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Senior’s past impacts soccer talent