Karns City striker Dakota King recently announced his commitment to continue his soccer career at Thiel College. King was one of D9’s top soccer players and most prolific scorers, winning the UAVSL South Division Player of the Year Award during the 2020 season.
(Photo: Dakota King’s Commitment)
(From left to right: Coach Jim Grenninger, Mom Patty King, Dakota King, Dad Roger King, Assistant Coach Brittni Grenninger)
D9Sports.com had the chance to talk with King about his time at Karns City and his commitment to Thiel College.
Becoming a starter and captain at one of District 9’s top programs is no easy feat, and King believes that his hard work throughout his career took him and his team to a higher level.
“It took a lot of hard work just to even start for the team, but to have a good career there and do what the team and I did was really something [special],” said King, who captained the Gremlins to a D9 title in 2020.
King’s Karns City Squad with the D9 Title Trophy
“Winning the District 9 title with my friends” was King’s favorite moment from his time as a Gremlin. Karns City captured the title after a 1-0 win over Punxsutawney. King scored a key goal in Karns City’s following match, a 1-0 win over Bedford in the first round of the PIAA tournament.
King and his Team Celebrate After Defeating Bedford
King enjoys playing as a hard-nosed center forward and credits his father with helping to develop his aggressive and opportunistic scoring mentality.
“My favorite position is center striker. I’d like to describe my[self] as someone who gets in the box and fights for the ball and does anything I can to put the ball in the net. The person who molded me into that kind of striker is my dad. He really pushed me to be a hard-nosed kid and [to be able to] take cleats in the back of the feet and keep going no matter what.”
King also credits his club career outside of high school as instrumental to taking him to the next level.
“My dad and a friend’s dad coached us for ten years. When our team broke down, I went to play for a club team, and we had a lot of success.”
At his club team, King played for coach Zack Walters, who recently took the head coaching job at Thiel College. King believes that Walters helped him develop into a more complete player, and King is excited to follow his head coach to the next level.
“I played for [Coach Walters] on my club team, and his playstyle really helped me grow as a player and brought the best out of me. I decided to go to Thiel because he is the coach there. When I went to my club team, I was a sprint as far as I can kind of kid. [Coach Walters] helped me develop my all-around game to help me out in every aspect, [including] my mentality.”
King also fell in love with Thiel’s campus, a pretty, green-filled campus located in Greenville, PA.
“I fell in love with the campus the first time that I went there, and it was a no-brainer to go [to Thiel].”
King’s skills will help a Thiel team looking to begin a new era with Walters at the helm. After struggling during the past few seasons, the Tomcats strive to up their game to compete with some of the top teams in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, a Division III NCAA conference mostly made up of schools from Western Pennsylvania.
When King was asked about his District 9 legacy, King responded that he would most like to be remembered for being a reliable leader and proven winner with a fun spirit.
“As a player, I want to be known for being reliable on the field, being there to lead kids, and for winning games. As a person, I would like to be easy to approach and just be fun and have fun.”
King will look to take his work ethic, blend of strength and skill, and positive attitude to succeed at the next level. We wish good luck to Dakota King in his academic and athletic future!