Junior Brent Kallman plays for Creighton University. Older brother Brian was part of the NSC Stars championship season while younger sister Kassey is a sophomore at Florida State. Photo courtesy Creighton University Athletics
Rich Kallman had a decision to make seven years ago. He could work until the retiring age of 55, when each of his six kids and former Woodbury standout athletes would be done playing sports.
"Or I could leave the company, which I did, and spend the next several years chasing them around," he said.
He wasn't kidding. This fall alone, Kallman has driven more than 40,000 miles across the country to watch his kids win soccer games. His oldest son, Brian, was part of the NSC Stars championship season. Younger brother Brent is a junior at Creighton and his youngest, daughter Kassey, is a sophomore at Florida State.
Here are only a couple of scenes:
During the Stars' last leg of the NASL Championship Series, Rich drove down to Blacksburg, Va., on Thursday to watch Kassey play against Virginia Tech. He then headed south to watch Brian help the Stars clinch the championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday before cruising north to Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday for Kassey and Florida State's first ACC tournament game.
"He rents a car and just drives," Brian said. "He just drives until he gets tired and then he pulls over to the side of the road and sleeps in his car for a few hours.
"He's a road warrior."
Only last weekend, Rich and his wife, Laura, went to their hometown of Bellevue, Neb., for Thanksgiving. They left Bellevue on Thanksgiving night at 5:30 for Tallahassee, Fla., where they watched Kassey score a goal for the Seminoles in the NCAA Elite Eight victory against Virginia. After taking Kassey out for dinner, they left Florida for Omaha to see Brent play Sunday in the Sweet Sixteen. Creighton won that game 2-1, meaning the Kallmans would be on the road again this weekend.
Rich led a crew down to Kennesaw State near Atlanta for Florida State's Final Four match on Friday before motoring west back to Omaha for Creighton's Elite Eight contest.
Laura has seen her fair share of games, but not as many as Rich, who has only been home one weekend this fall.
"She's more sane," said Brian, who recently got engaged and also coaches camps, Woodbury High School and Woodbury Club Soccer.
But this isn't Rich's first rodeo. He's been doing this for the past few years.
His oldest daughter Krystle played at West Virginia from 2005-2007 before transferring to the University of Minnesota her senior year, where she now serves as a Gophers assistant coach.
"So I started doing some crazy things," said Rich, who still had younger daughter Kylie, Brent and Kassey playing sports back in Woodbury while Brian had been playing at Jacksonville University and Creighton before joining the Minnesota Thunder.
Rich uses the open road for two reasons: cost and flexibility. The scheduling and expenses associated with air travel surely would get out of hand, and driving doesn't bother him one bit. With the radio on and a horde of diet caffeinated soda, the past few years have been a blast.
"And there's a couple more left," he said.