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Originally published September 5, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 5, 2007 at 2:06 AM

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UW Soccer | Forrest overcomes injuries to pursue title

Bumps, bruises and broken bones are nothing new to Kevin Forrest. Even as a kid, he would come home with casts and bandages covering an...

Special to The Seattle Times

Bumps, bruises and broken bones are nothing new to Kevin Forrest.

Even as a kid, he would come home with casts and bandages covering an assortment of hard knocks from the soccer field.

Fractured foot. Torn arch. Sprained medial collateral ligaments.

"He has had a history of this or that, but after any injury, he's always come back," said Dean Wurzberger, Washington men's soccer coach.

Last year, as a junior for the Huskies, Forrest sat out three games with the knee injury. He wore a knee brace for the second half of the season.

No sweat.

The forward scored a career-high 16 goals and earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors.

"Forrest, in the modern era, has to be the best forward we've produced," said Wurzberger, who has coached at UW for 17 years. "We haven't had a scorer like him in years."

Despite the individual honors, Forrest wouldn't call last season a success. The Huskies finished next to last in the Pac-10 and barely made the NCAA playoffs.

This year, his last in college, Forrest wants to win.

"Ever since I've been here, I've had high hopes of going to the Final Four," he said. "This year's team is one of the most deep, talented and competitive we've had since I've been here."

Washington returns nine starters and adds a freshman class that includes U.S. Under-17 national team forward Ellis McLoughlin. Combine that with Forrest's All-American hype, and the Huskies may have the pieces to make a title run.

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Earlier this week, Forrest was in championship form, earning Pac-10 Player of the Week with three goals and an assist in UW's 5-1 win over Cal State-Bakersfield.

"I'm a better player this year," Forrest said. "Months go by and you learn and improve, you mature."

Wurzberger agrees.

"He's definitely added to his game," Wurzberger said. "He's more polished, more refined, more savvy on the ball."

Forrest's improved skills should make for a record-setting year in 2007. His 31 goals rank eighth at UW, and with 10 points, Forrest will tie his father, Ward, for 10th on the career points list.

Although Ward Forrest is aware his record will fall, he said there's no rivalry between him and Kevin.

"I'm very happy for my son," said Ward Forrest, who played professionally with Wurzberger for the Seattle Sounders in the 1970s. "If your son can do better than you, you're pleased for him. He deserves all the success he gets."

Kevin Forrest says his dad was his biggest soccer influence. While kids around him grew bigger, Kevin worked on technique.

Byage 12 he could juggle a soccer ball better than his father could.

"I didn't have any idea back then that he would be this good," Ward Forrest said.

So good, Forrest has caught the eye of professional coaches. He trained last summer with two Major League Soccer teams.

Forrest also is interested in traveling to Europe after graduation and trying out for teams overseas.

"That'd be a fun decision to have to make: MLS or Europe," he said. "If I'm making that decision, I'm a lucky guy."

But the college season comes first, and Forrest's priority is remaining healthy and productive. It won't be easy to follow up a Pac-10 Player of the Year season.

"He'll be a marked man this year," Wurzberger said.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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