At the Rock Canyon High School turf field, just as an Oct. 17 practice wrapped up, a player asked the reporter standing on the sideline if he was Kagan Giltinan's agent. Just as Giltinan jogged in to …
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At the Rock Canyon High School turf field, just as an Oct. 17 practice wrapped up, a player asked the reporter standing on the sideline if he was Kagan Giltinan's agent. Just as Giltinan jogged in to put the balls away, he attempted a ball trick, which was followed by another teammate shouting, “Oh, Cristiano!” (as in Ronaldo, the world-famous soccer player).
Though a senior on the Jaguars' boys soccer team, Giltinan tries to carry himself like a professional as much as possible. His performance speaks for itself. Giltinan leads the team in goals scored (nine) and is the undisputed leader of the 9-4-1 Jags squad. The team (6-2-1 in the Continental League) trails only Castle View (7-1-1) for the No. 1 spot in the standings. With the playoffs looming, Rock Canyon will undoubtedly look to their star striker to carry them to state contention.
Giltinan has a few Division II offers so far and will likely study engineering wherever he lands. Until then, Giltinan will focus on being a pro, because he believes it will bring the best out of him and his teammates.
“You can spend a lot of hours on the field,” Giltinan said, “but if you're just dinking around and stuff, you won't accomplish anything.”
Giltinan leads his team in goals scored this season with nine, good for second-best in the Continental League.
"Kagan always likes to take a leadership (role) and get the guys together. He's big on that. He's a good positive leader in the group. On the pitch, his most dangerous time is when he's squared to the goal and he's 1-on-1 with a player, he can dice him up pretty regularly and create some space for himself. He's strong on his left and his right side. As a person, he's got that leadership ingrained in him."
Aaron Carpenter, Rock Canyon boys soccer coach
What do you love about soccer?
I like the freedom of it. There's no set plays or anything, so you have to be intelligent with your movement, on the ball and off of it. You just have to be smart, but you have to be an athlete, and that's what I like about it. You can be as creative as you want.
Do you play club in the offseason?
I played with the Rush Academy this past year. I'll be playing with Rapids this year.
Do you play FIFA (soccer video game)?
I play FIFA sometimes. I'm really bad.
Do you prefer Major League Soccer or the British Premier League?
Do you have a team?
Liverpool. I like watching them. I like their front three. I play on the attack, so it's nice watching them because they're all creative.
Is there an athlete you look up to or try to emulate?
Obviously, Cristiano Ronaldo (forward for Juventus and the Portugal national team). (Lionel) Messi (forward for Barcelona and Argentina national team) is also good, but I think Ronaldo — it shows he puts in the work. He's very athletic and he could probably be an athlete in other sports as well.
Do you have a pre-match ritual or meal?
The night before, I eat a lot of spaghetti or pasta and then a protein bar before the game. Then I just mentally prepare myself.
How do you mentally prepare yourself?
I just kind of forget about everything else going on in my life and act as if it's a professional game, because that's how you're going to reach a higher level.
Do you know what you're going to do after high school?
I have a few offers from Division II schools to go play there, so I'll be playing in college, and I'll see what can happen after that. Some of the schools I've been to, the players go professional, go to the MLS and stuff, so we'll see if that can happen. Right now, just focus on school and getting a college degree.
Do you have a favorite class?
I like physics. My grandpa had a Ph.D. in quantum physics, so he was always teaching me when I was really little.
Is that something you want to study?
I'll probably go into engineering so I can make more money.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to hang out with friends. I have to do homework a lot of the time. I usually just watch soccer, usually the Champion's League or BPL.
What's the best soccer movie?
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