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MOUNT WASHINGTON - A later bloomer when it came to soccer, the thought of playing at the next level was not something that Bullitt East defender Alex Emberton grew up envisioning.
In fact, there was a time during his sophomore season in which Emberton stepped away from the game for a time. That seemed to reenergize his batteries and since that time he has been a mainstay in the Bullitt East program. He was a solid defender for the program this past season, the first time the Chargers had been ranked among the top-25 teams in the state.
It wasn’t until his final year in school that Emberton began looking at options past graduation in terms of sports. A trip to Campbellsville University for a try-out camp came at just the right time. Within a few weeks, the Charger player had decided that the NAIA school was for him.
“I didn’t decide to play in college until my senior year,” Emberton said after the ceremony in the Bullitt East lobby a few weeks ago. “I started improving. I got a lot of compliments about my improvement so I thought I would try this.”
Emberton also looked into Georgetown University and Asbury College, but liked the whole package south of Mount Washington.
“It’s a really nice, close place and small,” the 18-year old son of Sandy and Mark Emberton said. “Everybody knows everybody. It’s a neat and nice facility.”
Emberton has plans now to do his pre-engineering work at Campbellsville and then move on to the University of Kentucky.
Unlike many high school players who go from high school to college, Emberton is already prepared to do the defensive work.
“I’ve played defense since I was four (years old),” the Charger senior said. “Offense is a mystery to me.”
Emberton began playing soccer with the YMCA program in Fern Creek. He then moved to the Fern Creek Optimist program. That was followed by the shift to Mount Washington before his freshman season. He played that year, but then sat out as a sophomore.
“I wasn’t really decided on how much I wanted to play,” Emberton admitted, looking back at the time of the switch to Bullitt East. “I sat out for a time and then I came back and loved it.”
When the 2009-2010 season started, Emberton was not one of the players that Bullitt East head coach Mike Brangers would have singled out as advancing to play at the next level.
“It’s always good for the program to have a signing,” Brangers said. “This one was kind of a surprise. He went down and impressed them and they offered the chance to sign.
“He always played defense for us,” the coach added. “That’s where he will fit in. He will be aggressive and he has a pretty strong leg. He was always a good teammate. We could always count on him.”
Campbellsville head coach Adam Preston was glad he answered the email from Emberton.
“He got in touch with me,” the coach pointed out. The first try-out situation had to be pushed back when Emberton was injured in a motorcycle accident. When he mended, he made it to Campbellsville for another workout.
Campbellsville posted a 7-9 record a year ago, Preston’s eighth as the head coach. He started coaching his alma matre at the age of 23.
Campbellsville has both a varsity and junior-varsity program.
“He’ll be in our defense to start,” Preston said. “We have a pretty decent group in that area now. But, after that (they graduate), he should be able to come in and play.”