CHEYENNE – Cameron Broadhurst’s preseason training sessions during his freshman soccer season at Laramie County Community College were limited to an elliptical machine.
He ruptured a Baker’s cyst in his left knee on the first day of practice. The injury didn’t require surgery, but kept him on the sidelines while his Golden Eagles teammates prepped for the season.
Broadhurst was cleared to play during LCCC’s opening weekend.
“None of his teammates really got to see him play during training, so they didn’t know what he could do,” said coach Vince Gibson, who is entering his 13th season with the Eagles. “It didn’t take them long to learn that Opie could really play.”
Broadhurst’s teammates call him Opie in reference to Ron Howard’s character in “The Andy Griffith Show.” The nickname is affectionate, but also a poke at his boyish face, 5-foot-9 height and comparatively small stature.
The midfielder from Broomfield, Colorado, is a testament to looks being deceptive.
Broadhurst scored four goals and assisted on four more to help the Eagles go 8-7-1 on the season and win the Region IX tournament. Those efforts earned Broadhurst Region IX freshman of the year honors.
“I can’t really say what caught the eye of the other coaches in our conference,” said Broadhurst, who is studying exercise science. “It had to have been my effort. I try to give it my all and go 100% every game, get to every ball I can and score any chance I get.”
Broadhurst said it took him half a season before he felt like he was truly in playing shape. Effort carried him through until his conditioning caught up.
Broadhurst is more than just a hard-worker, Gibson said. He is a highly skilled player, who came up in a strong high school and club program. Still, his best attributes can’t be coached.
“The thing that stood out when we reviewed film was that he was involved in about 80% of the plays,” Gibson said. “Regardless of whether he was defending or attacking, he was in on the action and trying to make things happen. He has a great soccer IQ that puts him in the right places at the right times.
“He is a big reason we turned the corner last season.”
LCCC went 5-2-1 to close its 2018 campaign. Broadhurst may not have to do as much to help the Eagles win this fall, Gibson said.
“He will have a lot more talent around him this year,” the coach said. “But I still expect him to be in on the action a lot. He may shine even more than he did as a freshman.”