Keene State College’s men’s soccer team bet a lot of roster spots in Manchester.
Five of the team’s current players hail from Manchester, NH.
Promise Kpee [Kah-P] went to West High School, less than five minutes away from where former Manchester Central players Anuj Khadka [Kahd-kah], Keegan LaBerg, Jake LaLiberte and Jacob Chiza [Cheez-uh] laced up. All of whom came to KSC within the last two years.
Now that all five are Owls, the connection between the West and Central High Alumni continues as the five have moved from the city of Manchester to the city of Keene.
Kpee never actually played against Central, seeing as West is a Division II school and Central is Division I, but he said he knew of the talent that Central High school possessed.
After coming to KSC last year, Khadka has two goals thus far in his career, according to the Keene Owls Website.
Khadka is in his second year as an Owl and, prior to coming to KSC, he, along with rest of Central’s Little Greens, won the state championship in 2012.
Chiza, LaBerge and LaLiberte are three rookies in this soccer quintet, but thus far they’ve filled roles when needed.
While the Owls have struggled with injuries to begin the season, the three have
filled starting spots on the team in relief of a diminished squad. They’ve had their chances, shooting a combined eleven times.
Chiza, who has a goal and an assist so far in his career, actually did not graduate from Central, but went there for his first three years of high school before transferring to a school in Iowa.
Chiza moved back to Manchester after graduation from his Iowa high school and winning a state championship there. He now lives with Laberge according to the two of them.
“I keep our room a little too cold for him,” LaBerge joked.
The Central High alumni said that playing together in high school has made the transition from high school to college athletics easier.
“We’re definitely more comfortable playing together,” Laberge said.
The Manchester natives are also pleased with their decision to play for the KSC Owls.
“I think what makes it fun is the chemistry you have with the guys and the teammates and how everybody gets along with each other on and off the field,” Kpee said.
The five of them also play in a men’s league during the summer when they’re not representing the Owls.
Khadka said that the five of them are like “a wolf pack.”
All five said they have their eyes set at the top, almost as if they were looking at City Hall Plaza (the tallest building in Manchester).
“The main goal is to win LEC’s and help each other as a team,” Khadka said.
As of September 27, the Owls are 3-5 with a 1-1 record against conference opponents.
As their careers progress, fans will see if the state’s biggest city yields the biggest rewards.
Jacob can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org