Ever since he was able to kick a ball, senior goalkeeper Brandon Bumgarner has been involved with the sport of soccer. Bumgarner has played for the school soccer team all four years of high school, and last year as a junior, he found great success as the goalkeeper for the Andover Central soccer team. He was voted All-league First Team and All-Metro in his position for the 2020 season. Bumgarner flourishes with confidence as the protector of his goal when other goalkeepers tend to be timid in front of their own net.
“I like throwing my body in front of shots on goal. Not many people wanted to be goalkeepers, so when I tried it and I found success, I stuck with it. I love seeing people’s reactions when I save a goal they thought was going to go in the back of the net,” Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner and the Andover Central soccer team look to improve on their 11-10 record from last season. The soccer team placed fourth last year at state but is striving to perform better this year.
“Going to the state tournament was a fun experience and a different feeling. We went into penalties against Maize and played our hearts out in the second game against Shawnee Heights. It was frustrating to lose both of those games, but I think we have a good chance to go back to state this year,” Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner has a great work ethic, and he doesn’t stop practicing or playing soccer after the school season ends. He plays on his club team, the Eagles, during the summer along with fellow schoolmates. Bumgarner cites his father as being the driving force behind his will to enhance his skills as a goalkeeper.
“My dad is my biggest influence. He coaches me, does drills with me, and helps me get better and better,” Bumgarner said.
Being a goalkeeper isn’t always easy though. Bumgarner’s position can be taxing and nerve-racking.
“The most difficult thing about being a goalkeeper is having no clue what the game is going to look like. One game you’ll barely touch the ball, and then the next you could be diving all over the place to save shots. Getting scored on is difficult too, I feel like I let the team down if that happens,” Bumgarner stated.
There are some difficulties of being a goalkeeper, but there are many upsides as well. “The easiest thing about being a goalkeeper is seeing the whole field and talking to my teammates. I’m able to help them and give advice through what I see looking out on the field.”
Brandon is looking to play soccer in college but hasn’t decided where he wants to play yet. He is both elated and downhearted about this year being his last at Andover Central.
“I have mixed feelings. I’m happy I get to continue into college and my education, but I’ll be sad to not be able to see my friends and play soccer in high school anymore.” Bumgarner is striving to be an even better goalkeeper this year and hopes to return to the state tournament. Hopefully, this time, Bumgarner and the Andover Central soccer team will be able to win it all.