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Off the bench and onto the field—transfer gains Veldhouse playing time
By Abe Huyser-Honig
Joel Veldhouse
Joel Veldhouse (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

The love of the game has taken Joel Veldhouse a long way—literally. This fall the soccer mid-fielder transferred from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., to Calvin College, five times farther way from his home in Sioux Falls, S.D., in pursuit of more playing time. He got it. Veldhouse (a sophomore in eligibility due to red-shirting his second season at Creighton) finished out the season with 17 goals-three of them game-winning-and eight assists, helping the Knights to an 11-8-1 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the MIAA. He was also named MIAA Offensive Player of the Week twice, and became the ninth Calvin men's soccer player to be named MIAA Most Valuable Player. "More than any other feeling in any sport I've played, scoring a goal in soccer is an awesome experience because it doesn't come around all that often during the game," said Veldhouse, who's been playing soccer since he was six.

Switching colleges hasn't been easy. Veldhouse had friends and had even bought a house at Creighton, he said, "but now I have to get to know people all over again. "For most of this fall he lived with an uncle and aunt, and only recently moved in with a cousin and some friends. His parents have visited him three times already, but he misses watching his two younger brothers play varsity basketball for Sioux Falls Christian High School.

At Creighton, one of the nation's top NCAA D-I soccer programs, Veldhouse played alongside All-Americans and Major League Soccer draft picks, and even accompanied the team to nationals. But a lot less time on the bench and Calvin's D-III atmosphere, where players are out there for love, not money, has made the swap worthwhile. "The biggest advantage is getting to play in a real game that really means something," said Veldhouse. "That's been so much fun."

Veldhouse also enjoyed the Calvin team's camaraderie, which made the season fun despite some disappointing losses. One of his favorite memories is the team's first tournament this year: "We stayed overnight in Indiana. Everyone shaved mohawks in their hair, and we played really well."

Transferring to Calvin was a natural choice since Veldhouse's older brother and both his parents went here. Although he'd like to see a broader awareness of other cultures and traditions at Calvin, he appreciates the Christian atmosphere. "I think it's nice to have other kids around helping guide you along in a better path," he said.

Veldhouse will use both his remaining seasons of eligibility as he completes a biochemistry major. After med school, possibly back at Creighton, he's thinking about a career in osteopathic medicine and family practitioning.