Winfield senior Kaden Kaimann has kept himself quite busy this fall, working overtime as a midfielder on the soccer team and kicker for the football team, where he was a Class 3 second-team all-state kicker last season. Which begs the natural question - why, and how does he have time for that?
“I’ve been playing soccer ever since I was in preschool,” said Kaimann. “It’s always been a family sport of ours. Football… I started my freshman year of high school not thinking I would take it as seriously as I do now.”
With eight goals and two assists thus far this season in soccer and a perfect 9-9 in point after attempts (PATs) and 1-2 in field goals on the gridiron, Kaimann makes his presence felt in both sports. To that end, he’s 44-46 on PATs over the past two years and 3-4 in field goal attempts.
“I think what allows Kaden to succeed is he’s been gifted with a great leg, but what really makes him stand out is his work ethic and determination to be great,” said Winfield football coach Cody Spegal, who has coached Kaimann for the past three years. “It’s really difficult playing two sports in the same season and he manages this with ease.”
Soccer coach Alex Rutledge, who has coached Kaimann for the past two years, also sees a great work ethic in the two-sport star.
“What stands out about Kaden is how dedicated he is to working hard for his teammates,” he said. “His work ethic and attitude are qualities that should be admired by his teammates.”
Playing two sports in the same season does take quite a bit of time, but Kaimann does his best to stay focused so he can succeed in both sports.
“My schedule is busy,” he said. “There’s not really much free time at all. It’s tough to play both and keep up with school but you have to stay determined and strong minded from going to soccer every day to kicking for football. It’s tough on your body as well. It makes you have to take recovery very seriously.”
Kaimann admits his family didn’t want him to play football as a kid, but he found a way to make it happen. “My favorite sports growing up were basketball and football,” he said. “My family was never too big on me playing football because they didn’t want me to get hurt, but they love me kicking. That way I can still play and be part of a sport I love.”
So given all of his efforts to succeed in both sports, do his coaches think he’s better at one than the other? In a nutshell, according to his coaches, no.
“He’s been blessed to be great in both sports,” said Spegal.
Rutledge echoed those sentiments.
“I wouldn’t say that Kaden is better at one rather than the other,” he said. “He strives to do his best no matter what sports he’s competing in. He’s the ultimate team player and wants nothing but the best for both of his teams.”
Both coaches also agreed that Kaimann has come as advertised - he’s good at what he does.
“Kaden has exceeded expectations in my opinion as a player,” said Rutledge. “I think he has another level to his game that we haven’t seen yet and I hope that I get to see that when the playoffs roll around.”
Spegal sees things much the same way. “I knew coming in he was a great kicker. He’s met my expectations,” he said. “The sky’s the limit for Kaden for whatever he decides to do in the future.”
How does a two-sport (in the same season) athlete juggle both sports if they happen to have games at the same time? In short, it depends - and the answer is subject to change.
“Over the past few years I would normally go to soccer over football,” said Kaimann. “But since I’m trying to go to college for football this year, I’m doing football before soccer.”
With regard to college, Kaimann is ready to go kick for whomever makes an offer. “I plan on kicking for football in college,” he said. “I don’t have any offers yet, but I would love to get an offer from anywhere.”
His coaches both believe he will get that chance. “He’s expressed the want to kick the football in college. I think he would be a welcomed addition,” said Spegal. “He’s never solely focused on kicking a football since he’s always played soccer as well. I think the sky’s the limit if he chooses to go kick in college.”
Rutledge agrees, “I know Kaden loves soccer but I think his passion and aspirations are to kick at the collegiate level for football. He works so hard at everything he does so I have no doubts that he could play soccer and football at the next level.”
It comes as no surprise that when an athlete spends so much time playing multiple sports that lots of memories will accumulate.
“The best moment that I can think of was his field goal last year during the Warrenton game. We were really struggling to get anything going offensively and Kaden was able to kick a no-time-out field goal right before the half. This allowed us to get some points on the board and get some momentum. We later went on to win the game and we were able to win a conference championship for the first time in school history,” remembered Spegal, who noted that Kaimann being involved in so many things is a great trait. “Kaden is a great leader in school. He’s involved in everything and every program seems to prosper because he’s a part of those different groups.”
Rutledge was able to share a few memories as well. “Some of Kaden’s best moments on the field consist of his hard 50-50 tackles, long free kicks, and his goal scoring abilities from distance,” he said. “His ability to kick the ball from anywhere on the field and give someone else a chance to score is an awesome attribute of his.”
For his part, Kaimann has a couple of memories that stand out for him
“There’s a lot of big memories throughout my high school career, but my favorite in soccer was beating St. Charles West in districts last year,” said Kaimann. “We always would lose to them and to beat them where it mattered meant everything. For football I think when we won conference last year and to be named second team all-state kicker.”