Waddell column: Bulls continue charge – Bridgeport soccer legacy keeps building

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, March 23, 2019
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A few minutes before kickoff of Tuesday night’s match between Bridgeport and Argyle to decide the District 7-4A title, a familiar face said hello.

C.J. Cartwright, the Bulls’ coach last year who is now an assistant at Flower Mound Marcus, stopped to chat. We discussed several things during our short conversation, but spent the majority of our time marveling at the success of Bridgeport’s soccer program.

Reece Waddell

Since its inception in 2015, the Bulls have won a district title each year. In that span, Bridgeport is a combined 70-18-10 – winning an astonishing 71.4 percent of its games.

What’s more impressive than the Bulls’ record and slew of accolades is their ability to adapt to change.

In four years, Bridgeport has had three different coaches. Ben Parks, who coached the Bulls in their first two seasons and led them to an appearance in the 2017 4A final, is now at Argyle. Cartwright, who guided the Bulls to a 21-4-1 mark and trip to the region final in 2018, departed after one season.

So, for a few hours Tuesday night, all three coaches in Bridgeport soccer history were in the same stadium.

On the surface, it’s just an interesting tidbit. But dig a little deeper and you will discover something truly remarkable.

Despite coaching turnover and new systems, rules and policies, the Bulls have risen to the occasion. Even for professionals, it would be difficult to perform at a high level with three coaches in four years.

These are 14-, 15-, 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids.

This was the first match I have gotten to see this year, and it came as no surprise when Bridgeport flashed its experience and poise. Down 2-1 in the 63rd minute, the Bulls scored a flurry of goals to come back and win 4-2.

For a team that has been minutes from a state championship, Tuesday’s rally was almost routine. This is a group of kids that not only know how to win, they know how to win consistently.

Cartwright told me several times last year that Bridgeport kids are among the hardest working that he has ever been around. Current coach J.D. Bales echoed that sentiment after the match.

As Cartwright and I wrapped up our pre-game conversation, he reiterated how special the Bridgeport soccer program is, and how the kids have been the backbone of it.

No matter who has roamed the sidelines over the past four years, the Bulls have been one of the most dominant teams in 4A.

They showed why again Tuesday night.

Reece Waddell is the Messenger Sports Editor.

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