Calvin College senior Taylor Pruis has never been the type of individual who likes to sit back.
Whether he is racing with the ball on the attack for the nationally ranked Calvin men’s soccer team or moving from class to class in his busy academic career, Pruis has been a blur of energy on the Calvin campus.
On the soccer pitch, Pruis has been a two-time All-MIAA first team selection as well as a two-time Division III All-Central Region choice. At the conclusion of his junior soccer campaign, he was named a Division III Scholar All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
In the classroom, Pruis has been a dean’s list student, majoring in business finance while also carrying a heavy load of science courses. After graduating from Calvin this spring, Pruis plans to attend medical school.
The Calvin bloodlines for Pruis run deep, as his father Dirk ’83 and mother Liesl VandeCreek Pruis ’87 are both Calvin graduates as well as NCAA III All-Americans. Dirk was a three-time All-American in diving for the Knights while Liesl was a two-time All-American on the Calvin women’s swim team.
“I always knew I was coming here [to Calvin],” said Pruis, “but my parents never pressured me about it. I looked at some bigger universities but I knew that Calvin was excellent academically, and I knew that I could also play soccer here as well. That was big, too.”
Last January, Pruis traveled to Ethiopia in a course designed to allow students to engage in medicine in a different culture. “It was an amazing and inspiring interim,” said Pruis. “We watched surgeries and shadowed doctors in hospitals while also visiting orphanages and other parts of the country. The trip made me realize how people across the world need help and how physicians from other countries can help advance medical care in developing countries.”
This summer, Pruis interned at the Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids as a nurse technician. “Working in a hospital setting was very interesting,” said Pruis. “It allowed me to understand how a patient relationship works in the medical field.”
Ironically, Pruis was a medical patient just a few months prior. During Calvin’s 2014 men’s soccer campaign, he was sidelined for a stretch of four games in late October by a knee injury but returned in time to play a key role in the team’s MIAA championship run and advancement to the second round of the NCAA III Tournament.
This past winter, his knee flared up again and required further medical attention. “I had a couple of tests taken in the fall and nothing conclusive came up,” said Pruis. “After my knee flared up again I went to a specialist who decided to do exploratory surgery. They found that I had a significant tear in my meniscus and during the surgery they sewed it back together. It takes some time to heal from a procedure like that."
In fact, Pruis was unable to start dribbling a soccer ball until three weeks before Calvin’s 2015 season began. His first steps in fall camp were tentative, but gradually the speedy senior began to regain strength and confidence.
With his sudden burst on the field renewed, Pruis was one of the leading scorers on a Calvin men’s soccer team that claimed its ninth consecutive MIAA title this fall while holding a lofty national ranking in the process.
“Playing soccer here has been so much fun,” said Pruis, who shares the Calvin single-season record for assists with 17. “Playing for Coach (Ryan) Souders has been amazing. He came in with me as a first-year coach when I was a freshman, and the culture that he has developed in our program has been amazing. Our theme has been to play with ‘one spirit,’ and we’ve continued to build that theme throughout my career. We play for each other, and we hang out together away from the soccer field. We’ve had a lot of team success, but I think the relationships we have built with each other have been just as important. We have a relational atmosphere based on our Christian faith.”
As for his medical career, Pruis is not entirely sure what avenue he will take but he is looking forward to exploring his options: “It will probably take me a few years and some rotations in hospitals to figure that out, but I’m looking forward to that journey.”