Senior Kenny Gilbert was three-years-old when his dad introduced him to soccer, and after a 14-year long journey, this past athletic fall season marked the end of his competitive career.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more passionate about anything in my life,” Gilbert said. “It was the only thing I ever wanted to do with my life.”
Gilbert played varsity for Warren Central since his freshman year and has been the varsity captain since junior year. Outside of school, he has participated in travel ball as well, attending multiple out-of-state tournaments and even winning a regional.
“You can go anywhere in the world and find people who bleed love for this sport,” Gilbert said. “It’s so inspiring to see and it’s amazing to have the chance to be a part of that kind of culture all over the world.”
Although he is very passionate about soccer and even has an offer from a college in Illinois, he is choosing to not continue playing competitively at a collegiate level. While he will not be playing on these colleges’ competitive teams, he says he will still play soccer as much as he can.
“This gives me a chance to have a bit more free time and hopefully I can use that to check up with Warren Soccer and stuff,” Gilbert said. “But I just don’t feel like juggling all the stress in college.”
Despite Gilbert’s struggle to let go of the sport he has played the majority of his life, he says that he will stay true to his soccer roots and try to stay in the culture by either training other soccer athletes or participating in small petty leagues.
“Maybe I’ll do some kind of coaching, who knows,” Gilbert said. “If Coach Robbie lets me come back and I can make time, I’ll help here at Warren.”
He is deciding to continue his education at either Indiana University or Ball State University for a business degree and plans to become a machinist. While his career has come to a close, he says he will continue to look for more opportunities to stay connected to the sport.
“My favorite thing about soccer was the feeling that it gave and the way it made you forget about absolutely everything outside of the sport,” Gilbert said. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.”