Hadlock realizing dream on different path

Goalkeeping One

By Kyle Salomon,

One year ago, Colton Hadlock was preparing for his senior year at Mustang High School and his final campaign in the Bronco football program.

Hadlock was solely focused on playing football in 2013 for MHS and on his future, which he thought for sure was going to be playing collegiate football.

The 2014 Mustang graduate is now preparing to begin a new chapter of his life as he enters the world of college athletics beginning this fall.

However, as history has proved time and time again, the path is not what Hadlock thought it would be 12 months ago.

The 6-foot-5 sure-handed Hadlock has committed to play soccer at Southern Nazarene University after playing the sport for only six months.

“I would have told you, you were crazy if you would have told me I would be going to college to play soccer a year ago,” Hadlock said. “But I couldn’t be happier. I know this is what I am supposed to be doing.”

After the football season came to a conclusion last November, Hadlock was talking with numerous colleges about playing football at the next level.

During the winter holiday break, the Mustang High School soccer coaches approached Hadlock about trying out soccer and being a goalkeeper for the 2014 version of the Bronco boys soccer team.

With Hadlock’s height, long arms, athleticism and sure hands, the MHS soccer coaches thought Hadlock would make a top-notch goalkeeper.

“In the past I didn’t do it because I was so focused on getting ready for the next football season,” Hadlock said. “But last year was different because I didn’t have that anymore. I’m good friends with a lot of guys on the soccer team, so I thought it would be a lot of fun and I thought I could help the team.”

The transition wasn’t easy for Hadlock as he quickly learned that catching a soccer ball is entirely different than catching a football.

“They are just two different things. I was so used to catching footballs that it took awhile to get used to a soccer ball. I also had to learn how to kick the ball off the ground and place it down the field.”

One area of Hadlock’s football game that directly translated to the soccer field was the punting aspect of being a goalkeeper.

Hadlock was the punter on the 2013 Mustang football team and quickly earned a reputation for booming the ball down the field. He was able to use that skill in soccer as well as he would send the ball soaring through the air from the front of the net.

Hadlock said he never thought playing college soccer was even an option until playing the goalkeeper position became more natural with every game.

Hadlock said three Mustang soccer coaches are the ones to thank for getting him on the soccer field and working with him to develop his skills in the net.

“Coach (Jared) Homer, Coach (Chad) Long and Coach (Tyler) Wythe all worked countless hours with me helping me get to where I am. There is no way I would have this scholarship if it wasn’t for those three coaches. I owe them a lot.”

Hadlock said SNU was the right choice because of its soccer program, its proximity to his hometown (Mustang), and they have one of the best nursing programs in the state, which is what Hadlock wants to do with his career.

“It’s just a really good fit. I really like their head coach (George Schroeder) and with their nursing program being so good, I knew it was the right place for me.”

Hadlock said going into his freshman season this fall, he has one main goal in mind.

“I want to work as hard as I can and earn the starting job as the goalkeeper. They have no returning goalkeepers on their roster, so I am really going to push hard for that position.”

Kyle Salomon is the sports editor of the Mustang News. He can be reached at ksalomon@mustangnews.info.