Once Kaden Schaefer got to high school, he started to think maybe he could play soccer in college.
For his mom, those thoughts started much earlier.
“About age eight,” Jessica Nordahl said of when he played soccer on a select team when the family was in California.
Schaefer, a Kingston High School senior, realized that goal when he recently signed a letter of intent to play at William Penn University in Iowa.
Nordahl said they went there a few months ago and her son wasn’t impressed. “There wasn’t anything to do, just like Kingston,” he told her. But he quickly changed his mind when he played with team members at their indoor facility.
He plans to major in business at the four-year school with just over 1,000 students in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Schaefer started playing the game when he was 4. Just a few years later he was playing up a level or two.
When the Navy family moved to Washington Schaefer started playing for the North Kitsap select team, then coached by Brent Anderson.
“He’s left-footed, which is always a plus” because it’s rare, Anderson said. “He’s a natural. He’s got a nose for the goal.”
Last year Schaefer scored 26 goals, tops in Kitsap County. While he prefers playing forward, he’s playing midfield for the Buccaneers this spring. Despite that he still scored two goals in their opening game 4-3 win over Port Angeles.
No matter where he plays, Anderson said he’s a threat. He said Schaefer isn’t the fastest player, but his first step is so quick, and he can kick powerfully with both legs. And, he’s an exceptional ball handler and distributes the ball to his teammates well.
Schaefer said he wasn’t specifically recruited by NAIA’s William Penn. They saw his highlight reel on a rescuiting website, and they liked it so much they invited him and his family to Oskaloosa. After he visited with the coaches and played with the team, he was offered a scholarship.
Scheafer, who is captain of the team, plays soccer year-round, and said he started to excel in high school when it got “a lot more physical.” As if on cue, he was penalized for tripping and shoving in the following game against Olympic. It’s also somewhat ironic as he’s just 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds.