Ken Krolicki: World Traveler, Spartan For Life
Spartan Soccer Senior Spotlight
By: Sidney Binger, MSU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
For senior midfielder Ken Krolicki, competing for the Spartans is not just a privilege to represent the Green and White of Michigan State, but a blessing to continue playing the sport he loves.
As the fandom for soccer grew across the world, it connected with Krolicki at a young age while growing up in Japan.
“My brother started playing soccer when he was four or five so I started playing with him. From there I kept playing and I enjoyed the game,” Krolicki said.
While living in Japan, Krolicki experienced success in soccer early on. He even received honors such as the 2010 All-City Select Player in Southern Japan.
During his freshman year of high school, his family made the move to the United States which opened up many new opportunities for Krolicki’s future.
“When I was fourteen I came to the States because of my dad’s job. I had no idea what the college system was about. Nobody in my family had played sports before in college. It was completely new to me and here I am in my fourth year.”
While transitioning to a new place, Krolicki also noticed a change in style when it came to how soccer would be played.
“In Japan it’s a lot more technical. The players there are not as big or physical compared to players in the States,” Krolicki said. “I think that’s the main difference that they are more technical, but here it’s more physical, more speed, just more physicality.”
Before closing out his final high school season, Krolicki began receiving offers to continue his soccer career at the collegiate level.
“Michigan State was actually the first college to contact me. It was unbelievable. The first time I talked to Damon, I was just so thankful that they gave me an offer and I got to see what Michigan State was all about,” Krolicki said.
It did not take long for Krolicki to find himself at home in East Lansing.
“The first time I stepped onto campus, I felt that it was the right fit for me. We talk about this team being a family, and it’s just so true and I realized that when I came here,” Krolicki said.
Family is so important for Krolicki that he kept them in mind when making his decision on which college to attend. With his immediate family in Plymouth and his grandparents in Canton, Michigan State seemed like the greatest choice.
“My family supported me throughout my high school soccer career. I couldn’t have done it without them for sure,” Krolicki said. “That was one of the main reasons I came here. My grandparents live in Canton which is thirty minutes from Ann Arbor, an hour from here. They come and watch every single home game and they try to come to a lot of away games as well.”
While his family may be in other towns, Krolicki was quickly able to find a group that could be his family away from home.
“All my friends are soccer players basically. I just hang out with soccer players on and off the field,” Krolicki said. “When they talk about family I think that’s what it’s about. I made relationships with people that are going to be there for me the rest of my life.”
During his time here at Michigan State, Krolicki has been a key player for the Spartans. Over his four-year career, he has received honors that include Big Ten All-Freshman Team, Academic All-Big Ten and Second-Team All-Big Ten before culminating with a First-Team All-Big Ten accolade as a senior.
“It feels like yesterday I was a freshman trying to learn from the seniors and play as hard as I can,” Krolicki said. “Now I got to show the young guys what this program is about and make a statement here.”
Finishing out the season, Krolicki aspires for big wins and success for his Spartan family.
“Our major goal is to go to the Final Four and win a National Championship. I think we have the potential to do that if we stick together and play the way we know how to play.”
Krolicki hopes that when his time here as a Spartan comes to an end, playing the game that he loves doesn’t have to. Krolicki has aspirations to continue playing soccer at the next level in some way.
“Soccer has given me everything, including the opportunity to come to this school. Basically my best friends all play soccer and that’s how I met them,” Krolicki said. “This game has given me everything.”