Boys Soccer

Van Kley's spirituality key to success on soccer field

2013-08-28T18:20:00Z 2013-09-12T22:39:24Z Van Kley's spirituality key to success on soccer fieldPaul Honeycutt Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 28, 2013 6:20 pm  • 

DEMOTTE | The typical high school boy worries about homework due the next day, whom he is going to the next dance with, and who he is going to hang out with over the weekend.

Several months ago, that was certainly not the case for Covenant Christian senior soccer player John Van Kley.

In what was supposed to be a routine heart valve replacement surgery back in February during the week of Valentine's Day, something went awry because in a turn of tragic events, Van Kley's father, John D. Van Kley, suffered a stroke during the surgery, losing all range of motion on the left side of his body.

Needless to say the younger Van Kley, a very spiritual person, remembers the day he found out like it was yesterday.

"I remember feeling confused and asking why God was doing this to us," Van Kley rehashed. "The whole incident made us question our faith."

When asked how his teammates, namely cousins and junior defenders Brandon Sheets and Jason Kickert, described him, Van Kley replied with "misery."

The one instance that sticks out to Van Kley is one day when his mom came home from keeping vigil at her husband's bedside early one morning, the Van Kleys just started crying.

While his brother decided to go the hospital with his mom, Van Kley wound up going to school.

Whether it was a pat on the back, a hug, or people's verbal condolences, Van Kley received comfort from many people the moment he arrived and the support continued from there.

"Everyone would always ask how my dad was. Teachers prayed with me," Van Kley stated. "Many people visited us, made us dinner, and even donated money."

A month-and-a-half later, the Van Kleys and the Knights faithful's prayers were answered, as the elder Van Kley went through some occupational therapy and some other processes to help him gain back what he lost.

"John has really stepped up helping with his father and family," Covenant Christian coach Andrew Dunham said. "His church and the community as a whole have rallied around them. John is just a good guy."

This past Saturday, John D. Van Kley was there to cheer on his son and the rest of the team in a game that the Knights won 3-2 over Michigan City Marquette, which was clinched on a goal with just 13 seconds left on the clock.

"He is doing very well now and has all movement in his body except his left arm, but with more therapy, he'll get it back," Van Kley reported. "The team uses this whole thing as motivation because my dad loves the game of soccer that much."

"Whether it's scoring a goal or clearing a ball out, the little things are done for him."

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