Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dukes Soccer Star Lands on His Feet "I Had a Feeling That I Could Still Play Soccer and It's a Sport I Love Playing Anyway."

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dukes Soccer Star Lands on His Feet "I Had a Feeling That I Could Still Play Soccer and It's a Sport I Love Playing Anyway."

Article excerpt

Separated from home by an ocean, thought after thought raced through Kadeem Pantophlet's mind.

Then a basketball player at Duquesne, Pantophlet had just gotten out of a meeting with coach Jim Ferry at the end of the 2012-13 season, one in which a cruel reality was presented to him -- if he wanted to play and truly make a mark in his college basketball career, he would have to do it elsewhere.

The game that had brought Pantophlet from the Netherlands to Pittsburgh was gone.

Staring at one of life's inevitable and indispensable crossroads, a passion of his past would help shape his future. He was going to go back to the sport he left several years ago, but had never left him -- soccer.

Less than two years removed from that fateful decision, Pantophlet has become an accomplished striker and the leading scorer on the Dukes soccer team.

"I wasn't looking forward to starting over somewhere else," he said. "I had a feeling that I could still play soccer and it's a sport I love playing anyway.

"So why not?"

At first glance, it seems bizarre for a rangy, 6-foot-7 athlete to play a sport in which balance and a low center of gravity are paramount

The Beautiful Game, however, has long been a part Pantophlet's identity.

Growing up in the Dutch town of Tiel, he gravitated to the sport the way many others in the country do. Anytime he would go outside, he would find a place to play, often at the fields and small, fenced- in areas scattered throughout the city.

Circumstances soon began to change, though.

With his skyrocketing height, Pantophlet developed an interest in basketball. As opposed to the hyper-competitive crucible of European soccer, he saw a greater future in basketball, one where he could maybe even play professionally. By the time he was 16, basketball became his primary focus.

While attending an academy in Spain, he caught the attention of Duquesne's coach at the time, Ron Everhart, who ultimately offered him a scholarship. Without ever visiting campus, Pantophlet accepted it.

He played two seasons for the Dukes and grew into a consistent role player by his sophomore season, averaging 21 minutes per game. …

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