Changing Lanes


LANE KENWORTHY '86 TOLD his friends freshman year that his trip to Russia with the United States Junior National soccer team was "fine."

Russia didn't think so.

What Kenworthy didn't tell his friends was that it was his two-goal performance that provided the United States with a stunning 2-1 upset victory against Russia in front of thousands of fans in Leningrad.

Nor did he tell the whole story when he said he was in Cambridge two summers ago during the Olympic soccer games that were played at Harvard stadium.

What he didn't say was that he opened the games by reciting the Olympic oath before almost 40,000 fans in Harvard Stadium.

But Lane Kenworthy doesn't talk much about a lot of things.

The soft-spoken Southerner is an outstanding soccer player, a rare two-year captain of the Harvard squad whose coach describes him as "a fascinating human being who has a rare level of poise and maturity."

But Lane won't tell you that.

Kenworthy has been honing his soccer skills since he was a seven-year-old in Atlanta. He has only been refining his political beliefs for the past four years, but his commitment to democratic socialism and his conviction that many of today's international problems emanate from American foreign policy are no less intense or deeply felt despite his briefer commitment to them.

As a 17-year-old member of the U.S. National Team, Kenworthy visited Guatemala. He went back to Central America last summer, not to fire centering passes or launch one of his blistering drives to the corner of the net, but to work on a collective farm and learn about Nicaragua's revolution.

"I don't think I'll miss soccer that much," he says now. "What I enjoy doing has shifted a lot. I'm much more involved in what I do politically and academically. In high school soccer was a big part of my life. I didn't do anything political. I've shifted more and more away from that since high school," he says.

But he's done a lot in soccer.

IN THE FOUR YEARS Kenworthy has played for Harvard, the Crimson has gone from being the doormat of the Ivy League to being one of its most dominant teams. In 1984, Harvard gained its first NCAA tournament berth in 10 years, reaching the quarterfinals against UCLA. The team finished second in the league last year.

"We've gone from the bottom almost to the top," says Coach Jape Shattuck, who took over the Harvard coaching job when Kenworthy was a freshman. "We've accomplished a lot in the time we've been together."

The lanky 6-ft., 3-in. center forward was voted captain in his junior year, an unusual honor that shows the kind of respect the other players had for him, Shattuck says.