Kash finding his footing with bigger role this season

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Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Gabe Kash (2) dribbles up the field during Marquette’s 1-0 double overtime loss to Wisconsin Sept. 13 at Valley Fields.

The defensive side of the ball has been where the Marquette men’s soccer team has seen a lot of success in the last two seasons, and one reason for that is due to the work of redshirt junior defender Gabe Kash.

Kash, who redshirted his first-year back in 2018, has seen more playing time on the pitch this season than in the previous two seasons.

“I started off not playing as much and they just told me to put in the work,” Kash said. “They told me if you keep the work ethic up you’ll get the minutes and that’s shown this season.”

Head coach Louis Bennett said that both as a person and a player, he has a lot of respect for Kash.

“We don’t give anyone minutes, he’s earned every single minute he’s gotten,” Bennett said. “He’s been built off of blood, sweat and a few tears.”

Kash, who is originally from Ethiopia, came to the U.S. when he was seven years old as he was adopted, along with two of his sisters and a brother.

In the states, Kash has spent time in multiple cities within the Midwest, including St. Louis where he led his U14 team to a national premier league championship.

“Coming to the U.S. was totally different than what I had experienced, but obviously I was very young and didn’t have much idea what was happening,” Kash said. “I was able to stick with my siblings and as I grew up I understood what happened and why I’m here.”

While living in Kansas City, Kash played for Sporting KC’s youth program.  This is where Bennett first discovered Kash and where he decided Kash was a player that would fit well into the Golden Eagles’ program.

“He was quick, has good understanding of the game, had a lot of good tools,” Bennett said. “I knew the characteristics he had back then would only have to grow a little bit with experience for him to have a big impact on the team.”

Kash was brought in and then had to redshirt his entire first year as he adjusted to the college game, which was a bigger change than anticipated.

“I sat back and saw how things played out and then once I understood how they wanted to play, they let me come in and show them what I got,” Kash said.

Bennett thinks Kash’s redshirt season helped him develop into the player he is today.

“When he first came in he was a little naive to what college soccer was,” Bennett said. “In our society now it’s harder for people to be patient. Gabe was patient, and how he’s really filled the potential that he showed back then.”

In addition to growing as a player on the pitch, Bennett has been impressed by the person Kash has become off of it.

“I have a lot of respect for Gabe. Especially when you consider his story and where he’s come from,” Bennett said. “He’s tough and he’s a quiet workman which I like. He’s grown into even more than I thought he would.”

With all the hard work it took to get to this point, Kash is trying to take advantage of more playing time and help his team achieve big things this season.

“My main thing I want to work on myself is my one-on-one defending, but as a defense we just want to play with unity and defend as a group,” Kash said. “Our biggest goal is to win the BIG EAST and from there make it to the NCAA’s again and dominate.”

Kash, who Bennett said has the possibility of going pro rather than going to college, also said that he has high aspirations for himself for the rest of his career at Marquette and beyond.

“I want to keep improving myself and my game here at Marquette and then just keep making it to the next level,” Kash said. “Whether it’s USL (United Soccer League) or MLS (Major League Soccer) or wherever, I just want to keep moving up in my career.”

Bennett said that he is proud of the player Kash has become and quite often uses him as an example for his teammates as someone who works hard and finds success.

“Gabe to me is a fantastic American college success story,” Bennett said. “No matter what he has never given up, and now he’s seeing the fruits of his labor.”

This article was written by Matt Yeazel. He can be reached at matthew.yeazel@marquette.edu or on Twitter @MJYeazel.