“I always wanted Karis to play volleyball,” David Rogers said with a chuckle. “I thought that, with her speed, she would make a great volleyball player. But it was never to be.”
Some folks are grateful for Karis Rogers’ misplaced talents. The 5-foot, 5-inch junior forward recorded her 45th career goal during a 4-2 victory Sept. 13 at Northland International to become Maranatha’s all-time women’s soccer scoring leader. That total had climbed to 48 through Oct 3. When Rogers completes her eligibility next fall, she could leave behind a nearly unbreakable record.
“I had several people ask (in jest) if I was going to break her leg before she broke my record,” said Elise Jones, who scored 44 goals from 2007-2010. “I was appalled, because I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Karis. She is phenomenal, on and off the field.”
“I love the game; I really do,” Rogers said. “I know a lot of athletes enjoy the social aspect, and I love being a part of our team. But when I think about the balance between creativity and strategy, I realize I just love the game.”
Rogers’ abilities are not confined to the soccer field. Her athletic accomplishments are simply more public. She is a fine pianist, the president of her ministry society, and a Gould Hall room leader.
Rogers began playing soccer in recreational leagues at age 5. She played in leagues year-round, including a 60-mile drive to St. Cloud for indoor soccer. It wasn’t until Rogers was 12, however, that it became apparent she had been given a special talent—speed.
“She was playing in a league that was a mixture of boys and girls,” David Rogers said. “They put her and another girl on defense and there was no way any boy could get past those two.”
Rogers was used to playing against male counterparts. Her father had been a three-sport star at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College. Her older brothers were exceptional players. So were the neighbor kids.
Minnesota allows homeschooled students to participate on public school teams, so Rogers played three years for Willmar High School. She was the Cardinals’ team captain and leading scorer as a senior. A story in the Mankato Free Press said Rogers put on “a dazzling display of speed and dribbling” during a sectional tournament game.
“In soccer, you always need to have your eyes open, seeing up the field and knowing when you should pass or when you should just turn and go toward the goal,” Rogers said. “There aren’t set plays. You have to always be thinking.”
Rogers admits to thinking a bit too much during her freshman season at Maranatha, when she scored 12 goals.
“I didn’t want to be perceived as a ball hog,” Rogers said. “Finally, one of the coaches told me, ‘Hey, we don’t mind when you shoot the ball.’ ”
Rogers took a more aggressive approach as a sophomore and scored 24 goals, a Maranatha single-season record, and helped the Crusaders to a runner-up finish in the National Christian College Athletic Association Division II national tournament.
“I’ve never met such a gifted individual who is so humble about her God-given abilities,” Jones said. “She’s not just a record-breaking all-star who happens to be a Christian; she’s a Christian who happens to be a record breaking all-star.”