Athlete of the Week: Blocking shots

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Senior goalkeeper Noah Bridgeman finished his final season with three shutouts as the Clarkston Boys Varsity Soccer team won the district crown, Oct. 20.
The 2-0 win over Rochester Adams for the district championship was one of his favorite games during the season.
“We have had such a history with Adams,” he said, adding the last few years they have knocked Adams out of the playoffs. “We talked about it we had to do it third year in a row and it was motivation. There was so much motivation before the game. It showed on the field. It was great.”
He added the season got off to a shaky start.

Noah Bridgeman sends the ball back into play. Photo provided

“We were kind of figuring things out,” he said, adding some players were out with injuries. “We got all of our players back and got a rhythm going during playoffs. It really helped.”
The boys were also getting used to a style not usually seen in high school soccer as new head coach Ian Jones played possession style.
“Personally the way Ian wanted to play is exactly how I wanted to play,” Bridgeman shared. “He wanted to just play instead of just kick it over the top all the time. It tends to be the high school model – have all your centers get the ball and kick it forward. I play for a pretty good club, Nationals Union, and we have been preached build and keep the ball. Let’s play soccer the way it’s supposed to be played. I loved soccer this year because of that – we got to play soccer.”

He finished his season being names to the second team for All-State.
Bridgeman began playing soccer when he was around 5-years-old. It wasn’t until he was older and playing club soccer he found out both his mom and dad played. His dad had an offer to play on the collegiate level at Western Michigan University and his mom played at Siena Heights University.
“I never had any pressure to playing anything,” he said. “I just got to choose.”
When he was around 11- and 12-years-old, his team needed someone in the goalkeeper position.
“I wasn’t bad back there,” he said. “I played football and was a wide receiver on the football team for Our Lady of the Lakes. I thought why not try it out, I have always had good hand-eye coordination. Then, I got into the net. Everyone said my instincts were really natural. Then, all the sudden I was in there all the time. I wasn’t playing the field anymore.”
He enjoys being in the net because he can see the whole field and help his teammates by telling them what’s going on.
“If anyone comes to a game they hear me in the stands the whole time,” he added. “It’s because I scream and yell to keep my players safe and tell them they have a man behind their back before they get destroyed or something. You try to organize things. I am trying to execute our game plan by directing them.”
Bridgeman kept busy playing both soccer and football during the fall until it was brought to his attention by his OLL football coach he would have to choose. He chose soccer.
“I chose soccer because I had such great coaches at the time and I like being in stressful situations which is what you get when you are a goalkeeper,” he added. “Stressful situations you might get a few times a game, those are your time to shine.”
Bridgeman will be on the golf course in the spring playing with the Clarkston Boys Varsity Golf team for his fourth year.
“I think we have a great shot at doing something pretty special,” he added. “I am really looking forward to our golf season. I love golf and I love playing it. I play it a ton. You have to practice a lot in golf if you want to be good at it. It’s a fun sport and it gets your mind off of everything else.”
Bridgeman heads to Davenport University after graduation to continue his soccer career.
“I have talked to the coach and told him I am committed there,” he added. “I am really looking forward to it and looking forward to my college career and going there to play soccer. I am looking forward to all the things I haven’t played or experienced before.”
He plans to study business. He is also currently taking all the business classes he can at Clarkston High School because he enjoys the subject.
When he is not playing soccer, he is training and enjoys traveling.
“I have gone to Europe twice over the course of my life so far,” he said. “This past summer I traveled to California, South Carolina and North Carolina by myself. It was pretty cool. It’s nice I have parents who allow me the opportunity to do it. I get to experience different things.”
His advice to aspiring athletes is to put in your best effort.
“Every game is not going to be your best, just put all your effort out there and know you tried your best,” he said. “It’s all you can do. Go out there and try to have your best game.”