Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 | 1 a.m.
No one has been more surprised at Kim Callen's success as a midfielder for Foothill's girls soccer team than Callen herself.
For the last five years, the 15-year-old freshman has played exclusively as a goalkeeper for the Heat FC club team.
However, Foothill's biggest need this season was on offense, and Callen has stepped up to the challenge at a new position.
She leads the team in assists, with six, and is second in goals, with three as of Tuesday.
"I wanted to play in the field, but I didn't think I would be starting," Callen said. "I didn't think I would be doing as well as I am."
Foothill coach Andrew Risheg hoped to use her as a reserve goalkeeper but played her at midfield after seeing her develop as an offensive threat.
"She has been such a force on the field, I haven't wanted to use her in goal too much," Risheg said. "She's one of those kids who has come up through the local club system, so she has a lot of knowledge of the game."
Foothill struggled to find wins early in the Southeast Division season but put themselves into playoff contention after getting victories against Southeast Career Technical Academy on Jan. 24 and Del Sol on Jan. 26.
Coronado, Green Valley and Silverado have run away with the top three spots in the division, but the fourth and final playoff spot is still alive.
Callen's biggest goal of the season came against Tech on Feb. 3, which kept Foothill in the playoff hunt.
With six minutes remaining in the game, and Tech ahead 1-0, Callen forced a tie by scoring on a free kick from 30 yards out.
"If we would have lost that one, mathematically we would have still been there, but our confidence would have been gone," Risheg said.
Even with Callen's success as a scorer, Risheg said, he will put her at goalkeeper next year.
The main reason for keeping Callen out of the goal this year has been starting senior goalkeeper Taylor Simpson.
"My connection to her is really close because I know she is going to take my spot when I leave," Simpson said.
Simpson will continue her soccer career next year at Seattle University.
Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].