Senior soccer player shows miracles are real
Late in the second half, a foul is called, just beyond the halfway line. The center back sets the ball and looks at his teammates, 60-yards down the field, awaiting the free kick he is about to send their way.
He feels the wind at his back as he takes a four-step approach to send the ball flying in his teammates’ direction.
He watches as the white Nike soccer ball sails in a driven arc through the air, before finally settling in the back of the net.
This was the scene set Sept. 30, when senior Brad Dupea scored his first collegiate goal.
For many, this astounding 60-yard triumph would lead to an intense celebration, perhaps a recreation of the 1996 World Cup Final when Brandi Chastain ripped off her jersey after scoring the winning penalty kick.
For Dupea, however, the first thought in his mind as the stands erupted and his teammates rushed to congratulate him was, “Does that count?”
“I just connected with it,” Dupea said, “and it just kept going. I kept thinking, is that going in?”
“I was like, ‘Oh there’s a chance.’ I thought it went over for a second, but everyone started cheering,” Dupea said. “That’s when I noticed that the ball was on the ground in the goal.”
Center backs don’t often get many chances in front of the net. Dupea would always tell his teammates that if he ever scored, it would be off a cross, never from a free kick.
Dupea can recall three occasions in particular where he had close calls off corner kicks that slipped passed the goalkeeper to be stopped by the defender on the post just before the ball crossed the line.
But a free kick from 60 yards was an entirely different expectation.
“I’ve always wanted to score in college,” he said. “It was awesome that my first goal was on a 60-yard ball that wasn’t even meant as a shot, especially because center backs are never expected to score.”
In club and high school soccer, Dupea mostly played the attacking positions of midfield and forward. But he knew that if he were to play in college, center back would be his position.
Luckily, that’s what former coach Ian Lefebvre recruited him for.
“Ian had seen me play in some tournaments down in Oregon and started recruiting me,” Dupea said, “and because of the athletic training program, I knew Linfield would be a perfect fit.”
The athletic training program at Linfield is grueling. It requires long hours of job shadowing and working in the treatment center in addition to an array of challenging classes.
If that weren’t enough to juggle, Dupea also serves as president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. But Dupea’s teammates say he’s a natural leader and that they can’t imagine anyone handling the pressure better.
Close friend and teammate senior Harper Taylor said that Dupea is a role model.
“He brings a personality to the team that no one else can offer,” Taylor said. “His impact is enormous.”
With disappointing seasons in the past few years, Taylor said that Dupea’s play and positive outlook is one of the main reasons for the team’s improvement this season.
“When I think of Brad, I think of staying positive,” Taylor said. “He has been the main reason why we bounced back from a depressing season last year.”
Senior Cody Escott, another teammate and close friend, agreed. He said that with Dupea’s strong work ethic, it’s hard to find a more motivational defender.
“Brad has definitely improved his quality of play over the years,” Escott said. “As well as being a strong player, he is a leader in the back line and motivates us all to work our hardest.”
Dupea gives credit to close friends like these as to why he loves playing soccer and has accomplished what he has in his four years at Linfield.
Although it took Dupea four years to score, he remembers coming in as a freshman with hopes to play and score a goal, getting an embarrassing haircut and paying his dues.
But now, with it being his senior year, Dupea is doing everything he can for his team to make it all feel unified and have fun in this program.
“Enjoy it while you can,” he said. “It goes by so fast. I have a lot more determination because I don’t get another chance after this.”
This outlook is why he takes advantage of every opportunity that comes his way, including the one that came from 60 yards away.
For the Review
Sara Miller can be reached at