The Kansas City Wizards Juniors have attracted many of the top of Kansas City's players for the MLS club's academy program. One of the area's top rising seniors is Christian Duke. Soccer America profiles him in the first of a series on rising stars in MLS youth programs.
Birthdate:June 5, 1991
Hometown:Overland Park, Kan.
Youth Club: U-18 Kansas City Wizards
High School: I'll be a senior at Shawnee Mission South.
Position: I play in the center of midfield or as a left back.
College Plans: Right now I'm looking to play at a few schools - UC San Diego, Ohio State, Creighton, and Marquette. I'll be visiting the campuses this fall.
First soccer memory:In kindergarten, I went to the local middle school to play in a 3 vs. 3 tournament. My grandma promised me a $1 for every goal I scored. I ended up with $12.
Strengths: I see the game well and I have good distribution. I'm more of a playmaker than a goal scorer - I like to create opportunities for others. I'm also a free kick specialist.
Weaknesses: I struggle sometimes when keeping shape in the midfield. I need to work on my positional awareness.
Highlight:Last year, at the SUM U-17 tournament in Colorado, we got to the final and I scored three game-winning goals to help get us there.
Lowlight: At that same tournament, we lost to D.C. United 3-0 in the final.
Who do you play like?Carlos Marinelli. He plays for the Wizards and is left-footed like me.
Memorable advice:My Dad was my coach when I was growing up and he always told me to think a ball ahead, to be a step ahead of everyone else.
Other Sports: I play basketball for my high school.
Academic Interests: I'm really interested in sports medicine. I'd like to major in it at college.
Volunteering: I volunteer at local soccer camps. Sometimes, the small ones are tough to handle, but I really enjoy doing it.
Favorite player:Thierry Henry
Favorite Show:Anything on Fox Soccer Channel
Favorite Movie:The Departed
Favorite Book:The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Favorite Music:I like Lil Wayne.
Craziest thing that's ever happened to you on the field:When I was 14, I tore the MCL in my right knee. I hope I never have to go through anything like that again.