Hunter French breaks records


Julianna Poe

Senior Hunter French dribbles the ball down the field at the team’s last home game against Hayesville Campus.

Kris Long, Opinion Editor

“Now, for your Manhattan Indians starting line-up,” boom the speakers at bishop stadium. “Number 10, senior, Hunter French!” This has been a familiar sound during French’s high school career. He has started nearly every 2018 and 2019 match for Manhattan High boys Varsity soccer. The commitment has paid off, after finishing his final season French has left a mark on MHS soccer and has the opportunity to continue his playing career in college. 

French started Varsity his junior year, though was a player on the Varsity side his sophomore year. During the 2018 season he broke the goals in a season record for Manhattan High with 28, then topped that this year with 32. Manhattan alumnus Max Lansdowne had the career goals record before French broke it this year with 46. By the end of this season it was obliterated by a margin of 21, the new record being 67 goals in a career. 

“It felt good [to beat all those records].” French said. “Scoring the goals for the team feels good … last year especially we were winning games [and] were just dominating teams, and this year too.”

French has been playing soccer since the age of three, starting at Little Apple Soccer Club Alliance — a club associated Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City. He then played for Sporting Kaw Valley’s academy. For the past two years French played at Kansas City Fusion’s club team along with playing for MHS. 

“[What I like most about playing is] probably the team aspect,” French said. “The team aspect of it is everybody has to be playing together to win … one person can’t do it all … It’s [also] a really mental game.” 

French learned to love soccer from his father and older brother, who both played the game for most of their lives. His brother, Austin, played for MHS and held the career goals record until 2018. 

“My brother and my dad [are who I looked up to learning to play],” French said. “Pretty much everything I know [about the game] is from them two beating it into me.”

Since he was a kid, French has liked playing either forward — he played left wing attacker for Manhattan — or midfield.

“I like to have the ball on my feet. I like to make things happen, score goals,” French said. “Forward and midfield works perfectly for that because …  you control the ball [and] you can pick and choose … where you want it to go.”

French intends to go to college to play soccer, but isn’t sure where he will be attending yet. Multiple offers have come in from teams in the midwest, including Kansas Wesleyan, Evangel University in Missouri, Baker University and Benedictine College. Soccer is incredibly competitive at the college level, so French is not banking on getting a full ride.

“It’s really hard [to get a full ride] in soccer,” French said. “I’ll take the best I can get.”