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All-Metro boys soccer player of the year: Kraus lives life of leader, guides Summit to title

All-Metro boys soccer player of the year: Kraus lives life of leader, guides Summit to title

From the 2019 All-Metro boys soccer series
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Christian Kraus got a chance to experience something few others his age did when he was a freshman.

During his first year with the Summit boys soccer team, Kraus got the chance to learn from some top-notch talent as the Falcons won the Class 3 state championship for the first time.

Fast forward three years and Kraus was the one leading the way for the next generation of Falcons players.

The Post-Dispatch All-Metro boys soccer player of the year, Kraus used what he learned as a freshman to step to the forefront of the Falcons' offense as a senior. That helped the Falcons not only win state again but post an unbeaten record in doing so.

STLhighschoolSPORTS.com rankings - 12/13/2019 Large SchoolsLast Week1. Summit (29-0-1)12. De Smet (18-4-1)93. Webster Groves (21-7)74. Edwards…

“Freshman and sophomore year I was a player on the team, but I wouldn't say that my role was as influential as some of the other guys,” Kraus said. “In their absence, I felt the need to step into that role. It was awesome to play a role similar to theirs. Everybody on this team, if they were on the previous team, knew this one was different. They all knew we were the main guys here. The first time around, it was a lot less sentimental for me. It was still awesome to win, but I didn't know what it meant. We lost out the next two years and that's why 2019 was so meaningful.”

Kraus tallied 45 goals, nine of which were game-winners, and 21 assists for the Falcons (29-0-1, No. 1 in  STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings).

Summit coach Tom Wade said Kraus' success was a combination of his natural ability, his work ethic and the work of those around him.

“Christian is a special player. He's got the gift of goal, as they say,” Wade said. “He's really worked hard to become the player that he is. He comes in on his own in the early morning to train with other coaches. He always works on his speed, his agility and his finishing. He puts in the work, but he also has a nice arsenal of talent around him. You can't pay too much attention to him because the other ones are coming, too.”

The 6-foot-2 Kraus had points in both state games, including a goal and an assist in the Summit's  2-1 win over Platte County in the Class 3 championship.

Billy Hency, the 2016 All-Metro player of the year for Summit who now plays for Loyola-Chicago, said Kraus has done the Falcons program proud.

“Christian is a great player as well as teammate,” Hency said. “He is competitive and hard working and did a great job this year of stepping up when his team needed him. He was a great player this year for the team. The team did a great job this year of playing as brothers, which is the Summit tradition, and just went out and enjoyed it while playing with their best friends.”

Kraus' offensive totals were part of Summit's 108 goals in total during a season to remember.

Jonathan Thomas (14 goals, 4 assists), Andrew Kogut (13 goals, 17 assists), Mason Crew (11 goals, 12 assists) and Kurt Lampen (7 goals, 14 assists) also played a big role in the Falcons' flying ways.

“A big part of it, as a forward to score goals, is having the proper mentality if you want to stay on top of your game,” Kraus said. “Having teammates who had trust in me really helped me. Having that really boosted my confidence. I was out there with a bunch of guys that thought I could get it done. We all got it done and that's why we were so successful.”

Wade said having players in recent years like Hency, Kraus and the other talents the program has seen has helped Summit become one of the area's leading programs.

The coach added that a pair of All-Metro players of the year only makes it more special.

“We've worked hard to build a program,” Wade said. “I think we're starting to attract those players that would have gone on to a private school for success. I think a lot of families in the community have come to find out that they can find that quality and that success here.”

With the championship trophy back in Fenton, Kraus has turned his sights to his future.

Between playing in the High School All-American game last weekend and preparing for club play, Kraus is working on honing his game so the right college will be the right fit for him.

He said that among the schools he's been in contact with are Wisconsin, Missouri State, Bradley and Belmont.

“I'm working every single day, getting ready for college,” Kraus said. “I'm just continuing to play. Things are still wide open, I haven't made a choice. I'm still looking for that school that shouts out, 'Come here, we want you here.' It will all work itself out.”

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