On the road to Sacramento last week to embark on his first college soccer season, Brad Bumgarner reflected on the successful high school career in his rearview mirror.
The forward not only spoke fondly of his four years playing for Mountain View High, but also the several seasons he spent with his other team – Santa Clara Sporting Club.
“I’m going to miss it a lot,” Bumgarner said while driving to Sacramento State Aug. 5 to begin practice. “It was so much fun.”
In his final tournament before college, the Mountain View resident helped Sporting – an under-18 boys club team – advance to the semifinals of the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships last month in Germantown, Md. Bumgarner was named to the all-tournament team after leading his squad in scoring with two goals.
“Two goals in four games may not sound prolific,” Sporting Club coach Demitri Cacoyannis said, “but this is against the best defenses in the nation, who are well organized, stingy and extremely tough and talented.”
Just four players in the tourney scored more goals than Bumgarner – and neither of his scoring plays was easy.
“One shot (was) from 25 yards out,” Cacoyannis said, “and (the other was) a composed finish inside the penalty box against an onrushing goalkeeper while holding off a defender.”
Bumgarner made the decisive goal in Sporting’s opener versus GSA 96 Premier (Georgia). In the 91st minute of a 0-0 game, Bumgarner scored off a cross he described as a “perfect pass.”
His other goal came in the next match, a 4-2 win over West Coast FC (Orange County). Bumgarner scored Sporting’s third goal, which proved to be the game-winner against the defending champs.
“That (win) definitely helped our confidence,” he said. “We played them a lot of times and never beat them before.”
But Sporting may have been overconfident for its next match, according to Bumgarner, losing 2-0 to Waza FC East 96 Juniors (Michigan). The result left the two teams tied in group play for the final berth in the semifinals, so they returned to the field 40 minutes later for a shootout to determine which would advance.
“I’m pretty sure that’s the first time that’s happened at nationals,” said Bumgarner, whose team prevailed on its fifth shot.
Sporting then fell 2-0 to Lehigh Valley United 95 (Pennsylvania), ending its season July 24.
Bumgarner wasn’t away from soccer for long. He’s now training with his new teammates at Sacramento State, an NCAA Division I program that offered him an athletic scholarship.
Bumgarner not only credits his club coaches, but also Mountain View coach Jim McGuirk with helping him get this far.
“He’s a great coach,” said Bumgarner, the Spartans’ leading scorer. “Once he took me (on the team) as a freshman, he was always so supportive.”