The Kigeya family was always about football — American football, that is — especially when young Demetrius showed some promise in the sport as a youth.
“He started playing soccer at five but it was not competitive. He was really heavy in football, and we thought he was going to play football in high school,” says his mom, April Kigeya.
But by the time he got to Madison Memorial High School, he’d already been playing soccer for a couple years with Wisconsin Rush, and wanted to give high school soccer a try.
“He went to Memorial as a freshman and tried out for varsity soccer and said if he made the soccer team, he’d play soccer,” April Kigeya says. “He made varsity soccer, so that’s when football ended.”
And that’s when the Kigeyas became a soccer family.
“It’s definitely that they’re into soccer because of me,” says Demetrius Kigeya, who just finished a stellar freshman year with Gonzaga University and Saturday joined the Green Bay Voyageurs of the USL League Two for the summer.
It’s fair to say that his mom, at least, is quite into soccer — she’s one of the founders of The Flock, the supporters’ group for Forward Madison FC, as well as the specialty supporters’ groups Mingo Ladies and Featherstone Flamingos, a new supporters group looking to bring Black culture to Madison’s soccer scene. She spoke with Madison365 on the sidelines of Breese Stevens Field, two hours after dropping Demetrius off in Green Bay and about 15 minutes before the start of the Forward Madison home game against South Georgia Tormenta.
After two good years at Memorial, Demetrius transferred to Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a boarding high school in Minnesota primarily known for producing elite ice hockey players, then went on to Spokane, Washington to play for Gonzaga.
In his rookie campaign he played in all 17 games for the Zags, starting 15, and was named to the West Coast Conference All-Freshman team. He unleashed 16 shots on goal and scored 4 in those 17 games.
He says he’s looking forward to a new challenge in Green Bay.
“Playing with new people, just trying to learn as much a possible before going into my sophomore year,” he says. “Basically, just trying to improve as much as I can, in any way that I can, whether that’s from watching my team play or helping them during games. Whatever I can do to help and just try to get better.”
Green Bay Voyageurs, owned by the same group that owns the USL League One team Forward Madison FC, compete in the pre-professional USL League Two, formerly known as the Professional Development League. Most players are college athletes looking to keep their skills up over the summer while experiencing a professional soccer environment.
Demetrius is spending the summer in Green Bay at the urging of Gonzaga Head Coach Paul Meehan.
“My head coach at Gonzaga, he was really pushing a lot of the freshman to stay close to home this summer,” he says. “There were some opportunities to play nearby Gonzaga before and he really wanted us all to go somewhere closer to home. My coach put me in contact with the Green Bay coach and that’s how that got started.”
“Demetrius is .. a dynamic player going forward and we hope he is able to link our team together through his skill and pace,” Green Bay Head Coach Brian Kamler said in a statement.
Voyageurs lost their first match at Des Moines Menace 2-0 and play next May 31 when they open their brand-new field at Capital Credit Union Park.
Demetrius Kigeya is a psychology major with aspirations to work in the mental health field — but only after giving himself a chance at higher-level soccer.
“I’m definitely trying to pursue a professional soccer career,” he says. “Eventually, if it does work out for me to go and play pro somewhere, the plan is for me to come back after my playing career is over and try and finish off whatever it is I decide to do, specifically with psychology. But pro (soccer) is definitely the goal.”