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Bradshaw commits to play for Yellow Jackets

South Boston News
Charlotte Bradshaw / May 13, 2020
Bluestone’s Charlotte Bradshaw recently signed a letter of intent to attend Randolph-Macon College in Ashland and play for the Yellow Jackets women’s soccer team.

Not one to let the COVID-19 pandemic overshadow the joyous occasion, Bradshaw signed her letter at her home. The senior Baron student-athlete said she was excited to be attending Randolph-Macon.

Bradshaw noted her matriculation to Randolph-Macon was partly based on being in the right place at the right time.

“It’s a cool story actually,” Bradshaw said of her decision to play for the Yellow Jackets. “I decided to go to the Randolph-Macon women’s soccer camp at the last minute. It was on the Sunday before school started.

“After the camp was done and I was packing up, Jay Howell, the coach, came over to me and said ‘you good? I said, ‘yeah I’m good’ and he said, ‘yeah, you are’ and walked away.”

Bradshaw, who has received several James River District and Region 2A honors, said Coach Howell’s response rang in her head. Before she could leave the camp, she was sending the coach an email.

“That took me by surprise and right when I got in the car I sent him an email thanking him for the camp and asking him what he thought of me that day,” Bradshaw said. “Not even 10 minutes later, he called me.

“He told me he loved the way I played and how he wanted to get me to the campus for an overnight as soon as possible. I, of course, agreed and was so excited for what was ahead of me.”

After the visit Bradshaw was impressed. Yet the girl who likes to “obviously play soccer, sing, play guitar, ride horses, and paint,” was also being sought out by Ferrum and had to decide where she would further her education and sports career.

“After I stayed for the overnight, I was torn,” Bradshaw continued. “At this point I was trying to choose between Randolph-Macon and Ferrum College; they both really wanted me to play soccer there. I ended up choosing Randolph-Macon because it was just an overall better fit for me, but it was definitely hard to decide.”

Decision in hand, Bradshaw is ready to move forward. She’s happy she was signed by a college but is also empathetic for her fellow senior student-athletes who didn’t have the opportunity to play their final season of high school sports.

Bradshaw explained for some, it was more than just missing the spring sports season.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is such a tragic thing to have happened, especially at the time it did,” said Bradshaw. “It ruined prom, graduation, and other important events.

“I was very unhappy when I heard that my season was not going to happen. As was every other senior spring athlete. I mean, this is the year we get to lead our team.

She went on to talk about the importance of senior leadership to a sports program.

“I was not able to play out my role as captain of my team, which was very upsetting. There were a lot of underclassmen on my team and I was so excited to teach them and lead them to victory. Not only was I excited to teach what I know, but they were just as excited to learn. Although this did not affect my recruitment, it definitely will affect others that have not been recruited yet.”

The soccer program continues to mourn the death of Bluestone classmate Kyler Lopez, who passed before his senior year. Bradshaw said being able to honor Lopez on Senior Night was something all the players had looked forward to.

“One thing that is very hard for me and other seniors is not having Kyler Lopez here,” Bradshaw added. “This was also his senior year and we all wish he was here to experience all of this with us.

“It is also sad that we will not have any way of honoring him on the soccer field. Since we don’t have a senior night, we can’t honor Kyler in that aspect. He was an amazing goalie and a great friend, every time I step on a soccer field I think of him and try to make him proud.”

Born in Suffolk, Bradshaw moved to Boydton when she was about five years old. Bradshaw was always involved in sports, mostly due to her family.

“My family has always been athletic whether its horse riding, soccer, or water skiing, we’re always doing something,” Bradshaw said. “While my family and I were still living in Suffolk, my brother and sister both played soccer. When we moved here, my brother started played soccer again his freshman year of high school. This inspired me.”

Once again showing the importance of sports programs that support the community and help develop student-athletes, Bradshaw took up soccer at the local YMCA.

“I started playing soccer when I was in fourth grade with the YMCA,” she noted. “My very first coach was Chris Williamson. He taught me a lot! I then wanted to try out for the middle school team. I somehow made it and that’s where I started to take the sport a little more seriously.

“In high school I started looking into playing college soccer. I thank my high school coaches Marty Bowlin, Johnathan Wells and Caitlin Maloney for pushing me to do better and believing I could do more.

“I would have to say my brother Duncan inspired me the most to play soccer. He taught me a lot of what I know and I’m grateful to have his guidance throughout my soccer career. I can’t forget my mom either. Her and my brother have been my biggest supporters throughout everything. They try to never miss a game and have always been there.

“Soccer has been the only sport I have put time into. Don’t get me wrong, playing basketball and volleyball during gym class is fun, but they’re just not for me.”

Bradshaw played for a travel soccer team in addition to being a Lady Baron. She explained that travel teams can have a positive effect on your game — Bradshaw competes with Piedmont Youth Soccer League.

“PYSL is the only serious travel team I have played for,” Bradshaw said. “It is in Martinsville, which is a hike, but it is so worth it. I thank my mom for driving me back and forth every Tuesday and Thursday and on Saturdays and Sundays for games. I played for PYSL for two years.

“The level of play there is so different compared to high school teams here. It gives me actual competition. Being on the PYSL team has made me a better player.

“I would have to thank my coach, Wes Lewis. He always believed that I could go farther with the sport. He is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had and I’m so thankful to have had him mentor me for those two years.”

Even though Bradshaw is staying fit, she admitted that her time off from school and sports has been a relief of sorts. Bradshaw recently completed her requirements for graduation via online classes.

“Now that I have finished my schoolwork and sports are no longer happening, I have been taking it easy, if I’m being honest,” said Bradshaw. “I get up when I feel like it and sometimes try to do some scholarships. At around 5 (p.m.) I go for a three mile run and then a high intensity workout when I get back from that. I will then finish the day with a shower and playing on my PS4. I’m playing Red Dead Redemption 2 at the moment.”

The running and 15-30 minute workouts done in partnership with her mom, Michele Parrett. “I get some soccer training in when I can,” she adds.

Bradshaw’s dad is Derris Bradshaw. She has a sister, Christine Parett.

At Randolph-Macon she plans to major in business. “I am thinking about majoring in business with a focus in healthcare administration. I may change my major but for now this is what interests me.”

Bradshaw said she has appreciated growing up in Boydton and Mecklenburg County. She expressed the area provided her with the opportunity to grow her various gifts and make some great friends.

“I am very active in my church, First Baptist in South Hill,” said Bradshaw. “Before the pandemic, I would sing with the choir and also sing solos and lead worship at other churches. I also have completed over 90 hours of community service.

“My time growing up here has been great. I’ve made the best friends and have surrounded myself with great people,” Bradshaw concluded. “Bluestone isn’t the greatest school, but I’ve made the best of it and I don’t think I would change it if I could.”

Randolph-Macon College is a private liberal arts college and is a member of NCCA Division 3. The school competes in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

The Yellow Jackets women’s soccer team was 21-1-1 overall and 10-0 in ODAC play and 11-0-1 in home matches during the 2019-2020 season.

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