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Caldwell earns shot at D-I glory

I took a nice phone call a couple weeks ago from Gloria Caldwell, the mother of Richland multi-sport athlete Bria Caldwell. She expressed her gratitude over the many people who helped her daughter earn a soccer scholarship to Indiana State.

It's nice when things all work out in the end — as it has for Bria — but Gloria's point was that there were so many individuals, many of them without her knowledge, who helped spread word of mouth about her daughter.

"Bria will be a first-generation college person," she said. "We're country people, so this is going to be amazing for her."

Gloria gushed about Richland assistant coach Teri Carr, who was there through the transition of former Bombers' coach Chris Smith to current coach Sara Elfering. I can imagine Teri, whose own daughter — Stephanie Fisher — played alongside Bria with the Bombers, holds many of the Richland players close to her heart. So if she can help some players get to the next level, that's a victory for more than just one person.

She praised Smith, who would arrange summer trips for the soccer team to Ohio, where some seeds were no doubt planted as far as Caldwell's future.

Apparently, even Kamiakin coach Chris Erikson even helped get some scouts interested by spreading the word around about Bria. Erikson has sent quite a few of her own players on to college — Eastern Washington's roster is filled with former Braves — but her efforts obviously aren't limited to her own team.

"It's amazing some of the offers that came through. Bri got offers from many colleges and some that we didn't even know were interested," Gloria said. "We're going to send her a thank-you note."

Gloria also talked about how tough it can be to get exposure without the benefit of a lot of money. Bria certainly isn't the first Tri-City player to miss out on opportunities because of finances or a lack of local resources.

"On the west side, parents will pay $5,000 a season to have their kid play," Gloria said. "We've been playing with the same uniforms for the last three years."

By the way, Bria's club team — the Three Rivers U-18 Green — won 5-1 with Bria getting a goal and an assist. She has been an amazing athlete ever since she was a freshman, so it was only a matter of time before somebody took a chance on her.

Good for Bria. The Sycamores of ISU don't know how lucky they are.