North's Badgett headed to St. Catherine to play soccer

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By Mike Farner

    HEBRON ESTATES - North Bullitt's boys' soccer program has been putting a much better product on the field over the past few years.
    That success has once again paid dividends after senior Chris Badgett signed recently to continue playing the sport at St. Catharine University in Springfield, Kentucky.
    The soccer success is a domino effect. Badgett got an assist with his college decision from former Eagle player Matt Bloom who is now competing in both soccer and golf at St. Catharine.
    "When I first started looking at colleges was right after Matt Bloom signed," Badgett said of the spring of is junior year at North Bullitt. "The recruiting guy from St. Catharine came out and talked with me.
    "That's how I made first contact with St. Catharine," the senior added. "Then I asked Matt to have one of the coaches contact me."
    Soccer made it possible for Badgett to get some financial aide for a four-year school. He had also looked at Brescia, but until the deal with St. Catharine came about, Badgett was looking to attend Louisville Tech.
    The 18-year old son of Deanna and James Badgett was one of the top scorers for North Bullitt this past season, scoring nine times. Badgett was part of the North Bullitt program for five seasons and was on the varsity team the past four seasons.
    Before the high school career, Badgett got his first taste of soccer as a 4-year old playing in the Bullitt County YMCA program. At the age of 10 he shifted to the Okolona Soccer Club.
    The hope now is to become a top-flight midfielder for St. Catharine and head coach Tim Wolz who was present at the recent signing in the North Bullitt library.
    "That's where I have been playing," Badgett said of being a midfielder. "I started as a forward and then I moved back to midfield. That's where I've been since my sophomore year.
    "I prefer midfield," the player added. "I feel like the midfield controls the game. I like to control the game that way."
    Badgett, whose younger sister plays on the North Bullitt basketball team, played for three different coaches at North Bullitt. He credited a lot of success at soccer to Patrick Kastelhun who is part of the Okolona Soccer Club.
    "He has been my coach at Okolona for about five years now," Badgett said. "When I first started I didn't know a lot. He has pushed me to be more of a leader on the field and to improve my game."
    During his senior season, Badgett played for head coach Chris Bass at North Bulitt.
    "He was a key player for us and he had a good attitude and worked hard," Bass said. "He definitely helped us out this past year.
    "For us he did a good job on the wing," the coach said. "Depending on their needs I can see him playing there at the next level. He is definitely a midfielder."
    This is the third season that Wolz has been the head coach at St. Catharine and he has been a college coach for 14 years.
    "He came down for a try-out and Matt Bloom helped some," Wolz said. "We liked him and the guys liked him."
    Badgett moves into a program that had a tough season last fall, posting only a 3-16 record. Wolz took some of the blame for that poor showing.
    "I kind of got excited with a strong recruiting class and I made the schedule too tough," he explained. "In our conference (the NAIA Mid-South Conference) we had the national champions (Lindsey Wilson) and six teams made the national tournament.
    "We released a lot of players so we were looking to sign a pretty good size class," Wolz said. "I'll sign about 14 freshmen. This is the recruiting class to take our school to the next level."
    All the freshmen will get a chance to play a number of positions so that Wolz can get a feel for their abilities.
    "He'll come in as a center midfielder," the coach said. "But as a freshmen we'll move him around to get him experience. The speed and physical play is hard to adjust too."
    St. Catharine does have a reserve team. The program will have around 37 players and Wolz said that for the main team that 18 players dress for away matches and 22 for home matches.
    "Everybody goes to the reserve games so that they all get experience," Wolz explained. "It's not a separate roster.