Cal Bear With International Intentions

By Marcie Giovannoni

When it comes to choosing a major in college, the process can be a daunting one, but not for this soccer-playing Cal Bear. Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Kruger recently declared her major as peace and conflict studies with hopes of graduating in four years, and she is exceptionally enthusiastic about her choice.

She is equally enthusiastic about sports, and has been so since a very young age,  but it wasn't until Kruger was eight or nine that she discovered a love for both soccer and tennis. After playing a few years of competitive singles tennis, Kruger realized that she not only missed playing on a team, but that she thrived from the team atmosphere, energy, and bond as well.

At 11, Kruger's then soccer coach encouraged her to try out the goalkeeper position.

"It was kind of a crazy transition," Kruger said. "I jumped into it, I took a liking to it, and it all got serious kind of fast. At that age, I never realized the pressure of the position."

The pressure was no problem for Kruger, who was an athletic and academic shining star at Woodside High School. There, Kruger took advantage of many of the activities her school had to offer her. She was involved with sports, the Associated Student Body, California Scholarship Federation, and was a member of the Invisible Children club. Without a doubt, signing with Cal will be a day that Kruger will never forget, but another day sticks out in her mind: the day she had her first encounter with Invisible Children.

Invisible Children is a non-profit organization that works "to transform apathy into activism," raising both money and awareness of the ongoing war and poverty in Uganda through the usage of documentary-type media to inspire and motivate individuals to join their movement to salvage the forlorn country and implement long-term development. The non-profit travels around the United States to different campuses, spreading awareness and inspiring young people to use their voice to make a change.

The day representatives from the Invisible Children team came to Woodside High School was a day that changed Kruger's life forever.

"The film put me in shock. I couldn't believe something to that extent was going on right then in that very moment while I was just sitting there watching the documentary. It totally opened my eyes," Kruger said. "I couldn't imagine seeing that film and sitting by, not doing anything."

She said the film inspired her to join the Invisible Children club on her high school campus, leading to a series of fundraisers, school supplies drives, and events that further fueled her passion for, and interest in, international conflict development and resolution.

After staking claim to the starting goalkeeper position for the Bears as a freshman, Kruger's love of the game and the team has only grown.

"I love the team aspect, of course, but having the opportunity to play at a (Division-I) school and at this level, continuing to win, and going far with the team has been such an amazing experience so far," Kruger says. "I love being on the team Cal has right now and being a part of it."

Although graduation is in Kruger's semi-distant future, she said she sees herself becoming an active part of the international community.

"I want to go somewhere, do something, lead something, and be important in a global sense. I want to make a difference," Kruger added.

Kruger believes that the empowerment through sports is extremely important and hopes to carry her experience and skill of soccer with her throughout her international endeavors.

"It's important to show children, especially young girls, that they can succeed; and I think that sports is a great way to teach them that," Kruger said.

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