By Thomas Sellers Jr.
In recent years the Brighton Cardinal Soccer programs have been under the watchful eyes Shari Garrett and Bubba Chambers.
The duo has guided the Cardinals and Lady Cardinals to District 13-3A titles and Regional appearances. Garrett and Chambers have helped the landscape of Tipton County soccer improve across the state.
It’s odd to have a moment of reflection of a girls’ soccer program in the middle of September, but the Sept. 15 contest between the Millington Lady Trojans and Brighton Lady Cardinals on the Brighton Field marked the last game for Chambers.
After the Lady Cardinals wrapped up a 3-0 victory, Chambers gathered the players into a circle on the grass. As the Lady Cardinals set, Chambers gave his farewell.
The blades of grass that were cascaded by those players’ sweat just minutes earlier was now catching tears from there eyes.
Chambers simply stated after addressing his team, it’s time for him to move onto the next chapter. Along side Garrett one more time, Chambers helped authored one more win for the Lady Cardinals.
Brighton’s Haylee Carlew scored the first two goals of the game with assists from Lila Lumpkin and Alexa Smith.
Carlew assisted on the final goal of the first half with Lumpkin scoring. The Lady Trojans made adjustments on defense to keep Brighton scoreless in the second half.
But the Lady Cardinals’ new alignment limited Millington’s shots on goal throughout the 80 minutes.
“I think we did pretty good,” Brighton senior captain Brandi Holland said. “We changed up our formation Friday and worked on it yesterday. I feel pretty confident about what we can do. We’re going to work out the kinks tomorrow, hopefully speed onto greatness.”
The win over Millington improved Brighton to 4-2 on the season. One of the two defeats came courtesy of Tipton County and district rival Munford.
Earlier in the season, the Lady Cougars paid a visit to Brighton and dominated the Lady Cardinals 7-0.
“We’ve learned a lot of things,” Holland acknowledged. “Most importantly we learned we don’t need to give up. We had a pretty bad practice after that. We’re not even allowed to talk about that. We’ve learned we have to have each other’s backs and learn to trust each other. We’ve come together as a team and as a family.”
A physical part of the Brighton Soccer family for years has been Chambers. Now he will be a strong mental piece to the Lady Cardinals moving forward.
One of the lesson he taught all his teams was come together as a family. Holland said that old lesson will be the key to future success in 2015.
“I just want us to mesh and if we keep communicating, trusting one another,” she concluded, “and working the ball we can do whatever we want.”