C.J. Bradley has proven he can play at a high level on the soccer field.The two-time N.C. Soccer Coaches Associations all-state forward has scored 66 goals in the last three seasons with Davidson Days varsity soccer team, while also playing a key role on his Carolina Rapids club team.This season, Bradley, 17, is looking to play at an even higher level after transferring to Hough High, where the rising junior looks to help a strong Huskies team which finished 13-7-2 last year and advanced to the third round in the 4A playoffs get even stronger.I had a great experience at Davidson Day, but Im excited about the challenge of going to a bigger school and playing (soccer) in a bigger environment, said Bradley, who lives in the River Run subdivision in Davidson, part of Houghs school district. I know going from private 2A soccer to public 4A is a big leap. I was kind of nervous at first. But now that Ive gotten to compete and practice with these guys, I feel like I can be successful at this level and beyond.While Bradley is new to Hough head coach David Smith, he has played club soccer with some of his Huskies teammates since age 7, including seniors Landon Moss (center defender), Kyle Williams (center midfielder) and Brad Waite (middle/outside midfielder).Bradley has also teamed with Houghs all-state senior forward Michael Basnett for the last two years on the Rapids, where the two prolific scorers already developed a chemistry. Basnett and Bradley have shown early glimpses of also forming a dynamic duo at Hough. Basnett tied the schools single-season scoring record last year with 24 goals, while Bradley scored 28 goals last year at Davidson Day.The two all-state forwards looked like they had played together for many years in scrimmages against Marvin Ridge and Mooresville, Smith said.Right away, you notice that C.J. really takes some pressure and focus off of Michael and vice versa, Smith said. A lot of teams are going to have to make a choice, whether to focus on one and takes your chances with the other, and we welcome that. C.J. and Michael are going to make a great partnership up front.Bradley feels the same way.Its not common to have two scorers like we do, Bradley said of Basnett. But it feels normal to us. We both believe that we are even better when we get to play together.Basnett and Bradley should also open things up for the rest of the Huskies offense, where players like senior forward Clay Kennedy, Williams (at center midfielder), junior midfielder Blake Marin, sophomore midfielder Jason Howard, and even junior Andrew Sutherland, coming off the bench, should find more space.I think our whole offense is going to reap the benefits of the attention give to both Michael and C.J., who are both very unselfish when they need to be, Smith said. That will only make us better team overall.Bradley is also excited about playing in the big games at Hough, mentioning teams like state powers Charlotte Catholic, Lake Norman and Myers Park which have combined for 10 state titles between them as games that he cant wait to play in.One of the main reasons I came to Hough was to play against the best of the best, Bradley said. Im looking forward to see how I stack up against the best teams and best players.Bradley hopes his play on the field also translates into more college interest, as the official contact period for college coaches begins Sept. 1.Bradley says has already gotten some interest from George Mason, while he also attended camps at UNC Charlotte and at the University of Kentucky that have helped put him on the college soccer radar.While Bradley is excited about his future in soccer, hes also focused on the task at hand at Hough, where he believes the Huskies could have their best season to date. Hough will attempt to do so in their first season in new MECKA 4A conference, where the Huskies will be joined by former I-Meck 4A teams Hopewell, Mallard Creek, North Mecklenburg, Vance and West Charlotte and two new schools Jay M. Robinson and Kannapolis A.L. Brown, both moving up from the 3A level.Of course, we are focused on winning our conference, and thats a big deal, said Bradley, whose Hough team will try to win its third conference title in a row. But we not only feel like we can make a run in the playoffs ,but we feel like we are capable of winning a 4A championship.
Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013
Soccer standout C.J. Bradley transfers, looks to make impact
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at email@example.com.
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