Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kinesiology alum pursues soccer career abroad

2010 alumnus John Prugh has recently returned from Liège, Belgium, where he spent more than three months playing professional soccer for the Royal Racing Football Club, Montegnée.

Prugh, originally from Bozeman, Mont., first heard about the opportunity to play in Belgium through a Whitworth teammate, 2008 alum Matt Friesen, who had spent time playing there. In Liège, Prugh shared a house with 11 teammates who hailed from Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, Spain, and the U.S. He says he enjoyed getting to know them, both as people and as teammates working toward a common goal.

"I loved and will always remember the soccer aspect of Belgium," says Prugh. "But perhaps more important to me was getting the opportunity to make some good friends and learn from them and their different cultures."

Prugh says he was rooting for the U.S. and the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup; the latter team finished in second place.

At Whitworth, Prugh played intramural sports and varsity soccer for two years. He transferred from North Idaho College, where he received the Scenic West Athletic Conference Award and Region 18 Player of the Year award. His sophomore year, he served as team captain and was named to the All-Conference/All-Region Team.

When speaking of Whitworth, Prugh mentions two members of the faculty who made a positive difference in his time at the university. He says that Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Daman Hagerott, who serves as the athletics department chair and director of the Human Performance Lab, truly cares about his students.

"Professor Hagerott is an extremely intelligent person I enjoyed learning from," Prugh says. "He was always willing to figure out the best way for students to learn, even if that required altering his teaching style."

Prugh also credits his academic advisor, Professor of Kinesiology Kirk Westre, with being very helpful and generous with his time.

Prugh is in his third season with the Spokane Spiders soccer team. Some connections made in Belgium, however, might soon lead him to Australia, where he will try out for Division 1 and 2 teams, including the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast.

Prugh says he wants to play soccer for as long as he is physically and mentally able, but later in life he can see himself pursuing work in physical therapy, personal or team training, or coaching.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,900 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.