— By GREG WEBB
PEASTER — Student-athlete Bayley Bradford has made significant contributions while playing basketball and tennis during her tenure at Peaster High School. But the senior recently distinguished herself in the annals of Peaster athletics, becoming the school’s first scholar to play soccer at the next level.
Bradford inked her commitment recently to attend and play soccer at Lubbock Christian University.
University Interscholastic League (UIL) soccer is currently only sanctioned for Class 4A and Class 5A high schools, but Bradford’s foray onto the pitch (soccer field) preceded her high school years ... considerably.
“I played in a lot of other sports when I was very young, but even then I really knew soccer was going to be ‘my thing,’” Bayley said. “Other people told me it was my game and I really felt that, too.”
Bayley first put her feet to a soccer ball when she was 4-years old and made the transition to select soccer when she turned 10. Most of her participation has been with the Fort Worth Football Club, where she has honed her soccer skills for the past four years.
“It’s really kind of different not playing for your school in a particular sport, but I’ve never known anything else,” she said. “It just became part of the routine, to finish tennis or basketball practice here at Peaster, then to go to soccer workout.
“So it will be different going to college and playing for my school, but I look forward to that.”
Although Bradford was being pursued by other next-level schools, the visit to LCU back in September captured her attention. After visiting the campus and meeting the coaches and some of the other girls, she summarized the experience quite succinctly.
“Awesome,” Bayley said. “I just felt like I fit right in.”
Bradford, who expects to play at the forward and outside mid-fielder positions for LCU, intends to pursue an education major and already has long-term plans to carry her soccer career forward — as a coach.