Student assistant coach forms special bond with girls soccer team

Bryan Hudnell | Staff Writer

The varsity girls soccer team is undefeated at home when senior student assistant coach Bradley Tripp is on the sideline.

Tripp was born with Cerebral Palsy: a condition that affects muscle tone and coordination of movement, which forces him to be in a wheelchair. Girls varsity soccer head coach Andy Schur met Tripp through the Top Soccer organization and offered him the opportunity to be a student assistant coach at the beginning of this season.

¨I met him a couple of years ago through Top Soccer and had him in class, so I offered him a contract that said that he would be our student assistant coach and gave him a bunch of gear,¨ Schur said. ¨After he signed the contract, he started to come to weight room sessions in the winter, and he was there a lot this summer,and eventually, the role kind of evolved from there. It will be a lifetime role as long as I’m in charge of the program.¨

Throughout the duration of this season, Tripp has helped aid the team by motivating and cheering on the players.         

According to Schur, having Tripp on the sideline has been mutually beneficial for both Tripp and the team.

¨It’s definitely a two sided relationship,¨ Schur said. ¨I think he gets a lot out of being there and develops a sense of community for him, and at the same time, we just get so much from him, so much perspective, so much excitement, so much joy seeing him out there. I think it’s great for all parties involved.¨

Before each game, senior forward Annie Metzger enjoys seeing Tripp on the sideline and has learned a lot from his positive outlook on life.

¨Bradley is awesome,¨ Metzger said. ¨He always wants the best out of everybody, but he’s also super sweet and nice. He has one of the biggest hearts that I know. Even with his condition, he’s still the most positive person ever and has so much joy in him everyday.¨

After a tough 5-0 loss at Loveland on September 9, Tripp managed to boost the team morale after the game was over, which was something Metzger and the team needed.

¨(After) our game against Loveland, he just had this huge smile on his face the next day, which was something that really helped us,¨ Metzger said. ¨I’ll miss seeing his smile on the sidelines and listening to his pump up speeches before and after games.¨

Whether the team secures a meaningful win or a disappointing loss, Schur believes that Tripp offers a unique perspective that goes beyond the game of soccer.

¨I think the team learns perspective from him after every match, whether we’ve won six to nothing or lost five to nothing or somewhere in between, he kind of always has the same message about the relationships and the moments that we’re sharing together are, in the end, what matters, and it’s not necessarily always the result on the field,¨ Schur said.

Before their game against Colerain on October 3, Tripp, Metzger, and all of the senior players were honored on senior night for their careers at Mason.   

¨Senior night was probably the coolest thing ever,¨ Metzger said. ¨Bradley got to go first, walking down, and he got to be honored with us. Every single senior thanked Bradley in their speech because of the impact he’s had on our team. I hope he understands and realizes how special he is to all of us because he left a significant impact on everybody on the team.¨

Missy Tripp, Bradley´s mother, enjoys seeing her son on the sideline and observing how significant her son is to the players and coaches.

¨I don’t even think they’ll understand how much it means to us,¨ Tripp said. ¨It means the world that they accept him as part of their team. We’re really proud and happy for him that he gets to do something as exciting as this.¨

Even though Bradley will be graduating this year, Tripp believes that her son will continue to find a way to support the team in future games.

¨Bradley will always support the girls even after he graduates,¨ Tripp said. ¨The entire team means a lot to him, and it’s something that he’ll never forget.¨