WEST PORTSMOUTH – It was a history making day at Portsmouth West High School Wednesday afternoon. While the school was operating on a normal schedule, a brief ceremony was taking place in the school’s library. Shortly after noon, Nathan Bragdon signed his letter of intent to play soccer at the University of the Cumberlands, marking him as the first student-athlete from West to receive a collegiate soccer scholarship in the school’s history.
“I’m very proud,” West soccer coach Tom Hoggard said. “He worked extremely hard, and this is going to be a great fit for him.
This is going to be a great opportunity for him.
“It’s a shame we’re going to lose him, but you’re always happy to see somebody progress on, into the next level. He was an extremely hard worker, all four years.”
Bragdon had an illustrious soccer career at West. He set numerous school records, and received multiple conference and district awards.
Last fall, during his senior season, Bragdon was named to the 1st Team All-SOC II, and also was awarded the SOC II Defensive Player of the Year award. In addition to the conference awards, Bragdon also was named to the 1st Team All District for soccer.
The soon to be Patriot with the University of the Cumberlands holds several school records including, most saves in a season, most saves in a single game, and most saves in a career. His abilities and his leadership in play, led to him being named team captain, to add to his other achievements.
Bragdon was first introduced to the University of the Cumberlands by his coach, Hoggard.
“That’s where he attended,” Bragdon said. “So he talked to the coaches there, and the Athletic Director, and they told coach they wanted me to come down to one of their tryouts.”
Bragdon traveled down to their campus in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and was immediately interested once he saw their campus.
After the tryout, the university’s junior varsity soccer coach called Bragdon and told him they were interested in having him become a member of the team.
“I weighed out all of my options and then decided on the University of the Cumberlands, because I figured it would be the best fit for me,” Bragdon said.
Although he participated in a youth soccer league as a young child, it would be during his eighth grade year that Bragdon would begin in a more organized atmosphere. It was then he began to dream of possibly playing on the collegiate level.
“It was my dream,” Bragdon said. “When I played in peewee, it was just something that was fun, everybody was playing soccer. I got into football, and so I played football, but it just wasn’t really working out for me, personally, so I started (soccer) my eighth grade year.”
During that season, Bragdon realized he was having a lot more fun playing soccer.
“Over the next few years, I just worked constantly, and I worked as hard as I could, and thought maybe I can play college soccer somewhere,” Bragdon said. “Nobody in West school history has played college soccer and received a scholarship. This is a dream come true. For this to happen is just amazing.”
Once Bragdon officially transitions from being a Senator to a Patriot, he hopes to reach a few goals.
“My immediate goal is to probably start,” Bragdon said. “I’m going to go nose to the grind. I’m going to perform at my highest level that I can, and hopefully I can get a solid spot on the JV team, and then hopefully by my sophomore year I want to be considered for being on the varsity team.”
By his junior and senior years, Bragdon hopes to be a starter for the Patriots.
Bragdon’s parents, Courtney and Burl Bragdon were excited as they watched their son sign with Cumberlands.
“We’re very proud of the way he has taken to soccer,” Courtney Bragdon, Nathan’s mother, said. “To see him move on to the next level, and to be the first person from West to move on to that level is amazing.”
Both parents felt his choice to go with Cumberlands was the best decision.
“It is a good college and it’s in a beautiful area,” Courtney said. “We couldn’t have picked a better one.”
“I’m just happy for him that he’s able to continue doing what he loves at the next level,” Burl said. “I just wanted him to be happy with what he was doing, whether anything came of it, or not. As long as he was happy and having fun, that’s all I cared about.”
Bragdon, who is a Real Madrid fan, will be attending the soccer club’s exhibition game at Ohio Stadium in July, before formally becoming a Patriot, where he plans on pursuing a degree in Sports and Exercise Science.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.