Varsity Soccer

One of Kansas’ hottest girls soccer teams now inspired for its culture-setting coach

Valley Center makes statement with road win over Maize

The Valley Center High School girls soccer team beat Maize 2-1.
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The Valley Center High School girls soccer team beat Maize 2-1.

Kyrah Klumpp didn’t know whether she wanted to keep playing soccer until she met Steen Danielsen.

“He was the one who really got me to start enjoying soccer,” Klumpp said.

Now the high school sophomore goalkeeper with Division I aspirations is in the middle of her final season at Valley Center with Danielsen at the helm.

Wednesday, Valley Center announced an open position for a social studies teacher and soccer coach. Danielsen accepted a role at Concordia to serve as the assistant principal and athletic director.

Monday, he gathered his teams together.

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

“The hardest thing about this entire process — and I’m not a very emotional person — but telling the kids was absolutely crushing,” Danielsen said. “And still is when I think about it. ... I never want to do that again, and I really don’t want to talk about it anymore because I’ll start crying.”

The Valley Center girls are off to a scorching 6-0 start in 2019. The Hornets already have road wins over Derby, Circle and Mulvane.

Thursday was their biggest test.

Traveling to Maize to face the three-time third-place finishers, the Hornet seniors were set to play their final regular season game against the Eagles still looking for their first win over them in their careers.

Inspired with Danielsen’s announcement, Valley Center jumped out to a two-goal lead with a brace from freshman midfielder Haley Sparks and held on for a program-defining 2-1 win.

Senior Emily Breault, who has been through her whole high school career alongside Danielsen, said there is no doubt emotions played a part in the win and will going forward.

“I cried when I found out,” Breault said. “When he told us, our automatic though was, ‘Let’s go win state for him. Let’s do as much as we can for the coach that has given us so much.’ “

In the second half, Valley Center packed it in defensively. The Hornets invited pressure playing without a striker threat downfield.

They allowed a penalty to Maize senior captain Cammie Davis. Klumpp saved it but was ruled to have come off the goal line before it was kicked.

The ball was put back on the penalty spot, and Klumpp saved it again. She said she knew what was at stake. Going forward, there will be even more on the line with it being Danielsen’s last season.

“After the game, we broke down to, ‘For Steen,’ “ Klumpp said. “We really just want this to be a memorable season for him and the seniors.”

Since Danielsen took over at Valley Center seven seasons ago, he has led the boys and girls programs to a 97-54-12 record, and the girls alone have gone 61-12-5 in that span.

He has turned the Hornets into one of the top programs in the Wichita area and helped lead them to the Class 5A quarterfinals last season.

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

With a change on the horizon, the goal remains the same, but this will be Danielsen’s last shot at bringing Valley Center its first girls soccer title and second in Wichita area history.

“Being part of the culture of this program has been really special” Danielsen said. “I know there are a lot of good programs out there, but I would put our culture against a lot of them.

“It’s a big position not only for soccer talent but for its special kids. I think I have five graduates that still watch my kid. It’s just a special relationship we all have.”

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Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

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Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.