Athlete Spotlight: Senior Soccer Players Braeleigh Flickinger and Samuel Cox


Senior Braeleigh Flickinger starts to make a corner kick. Senior Samuel Cox heads the ball to maintain possession of it.

Colleen Starkey, Editor-in-Chief

The glowing neon scoreboard shows a tied score with just a minute remaining. Meanwhile, the ball soars through the air toward the goal, gaining speed as it flies. A player starts to sprint to where the soccer ball is about to fall. Jumping up, he purposefully hits his head on the ball, giving it the extra momentum it needs to fly between the goalposts, past the goalie’s outstretched arms and into the goal to win the game.

Senior soccer players Braeleigh Flickinger and Samuel Cox have led their respective teams throughout their high school careers. They have both played soccer for 14 years.

Both of them are different, yet they’re the same in the leaderships they give to their different teams,” athletic director Mike Maddox said. “Braeleigh [has] more of that servant leadership, [while] Sam [has] more of that passionate charisma-type leadership.”

Flickinger began playing soccer at a young age. She started playing youth soccer because of her family.

“I started playing soccer when I was really little because my mom put me in it, and I kept playing it because I really liked it,” Flickinger said. “It gives me something to do because if I didn’t have something to do I’d be really bored all the time.”

Maddox believes Flickinger’s leadership and character traits are one reason that she is different from other athletes. Her selflessness is another reason, according to Maddox.

“Braeleigh has a servant’s heart,” Maddox said. “She’s that quiet, sweet, kind person, and I think people are drawn to her because of those character traits. It makes her so unselfish that she’s willing to play multiple positions. She doesn’t care about the limelight or who gets all the glory. She’s just a great unselfish teammate.”

After graduating, she plans on attending Mississippi College. She will pursue a degree in business, play intramural soccer and possibly run cross country while she is there.

“She’s just a born leader but her leadership is just a bit more quiet, not any less passionate, but just that quiet servant’s heart,” Maddox said. “When you tag on her soccer skills with that all of a sudden you have a great leader in our girls’ soccer program that the girls gravitate to and coaches believe in and know that we’re in every game with her on the field.”

Like Flickinger, Cox also began playing at a young age because of his dad’s influence. He also played several other sports but has decided to focus mainly on soccer.

Ever since I can remember, my dad’s just been throwing a ball at me, kicking a ball, just me and him, ever since I was two or three,” Cox said. “I fell in love with it and got good at it. I decided to dedicate my whole career to soccer,  so I could become better in any way I could, just to stay focused on one sport.”

Head boys’ soccer coach Jason Lawless picked Cox for this Eagle Eye spotlight because of his personality and abilities. He is one of two seniors to play on varsity all four years.

“As a freshman, he started on varsity,” Lawless. “He’s a very talented player, a fun kid to be around, and [he has] a lot of personality. [He plays] very fast. He uses his speed a lot. He’s very skilled. He’s just hard to stop. His dreams and aspirations are to go pro.”

Cox has played overseas in the past. This coming summer, he plans to return overseas to continue his soccer career.

“I plan on going to Spain or Sweden in the summer for three months to play and we’ll see where that goes,” Cox said. “If overseas doesn’t work, I might go to college, [and] maybe become a realtor or something.”

The Lady Eagles’ soccer team didn’t make the playoffs this season after finishing district with a 2-8 record. However, the Eagles’ varsity team finished 5-5 in district, but fell to John Tyler in their first round playoff game 3-1 in overtime.

If you don’t know them, you need to get to know them,” Maddox said. “For any of our students to be able to call Sam and Braeleigh their friend I think speaks volumes for them and know that their lives are a lot richer because of their friendship with both of these two.”