Determination and a solid work ethic are typically among the chief pathways to success. As a high school sophomore, Dewayne Bright II already has an understanding of how important the two aforementioned intangibles are.
Whether its in the realm of academia, or athletics – the son of Rev. Dewayne Bright and Veronica Bright, has a future that’s full of promise.
In regard to academics, Bright attends the esteemed Rockhurst High School where he boasts a grade point average of 3.0. As for athletics, Bright participates in track and soccer. The latter of the two sports is where Bright has began to make a name for himself.
Recently, Bright was one of 18 student-athletes in his age group selected to participate in the U.S. Olympic Development Program as a member of the Region II squad. The team from Region II is comprised of soccer players from 14 states and is scheduled to compete February 7-14 in Costa Rica.
“I’ll have the chance to see how other countries play the game of soccer compared to how we do here in America,” Bright said. “Coaches always tell me that you build a good soccer IQ by watching the game and watching your specific position. It’s like studying for a test at school, you watch closely and you learn.”
Bright evolving into an outstanding soccer player is not just a mere happenstance. He first began to cultivate his soccer fundamentals several years ago.
Bright was introduced to the sport by way of his older sister, who also played soccer. Eventually, he began to play soccer at the age of four and quickly developed an unwavering fancy for the sport.
Now, soccer has morphed into a cathartic experience for Bright.
“When I’m out on the field – I’m in my own world. Most of the things I do come from muscle memory, being that I’ve played since I was four,” he said. “I’m pretty calm when I play. It just allows me to get away from everything.”
In the process of working to expand his soccer aptitude, Bright enhanced his skill level. Nonetheless, it took a while for him to truly recognize that his potential is immense.
“He didn’t notice that he was a good player until last summer when he made the state of Missouri’s olympic development team for his age group,” Mr. Bright referenced. “He’s a natural talent. He is a forward, meaning he’s responsible for scoring goals. Coaches have always said that he has a natural eye for the goal.”
Bright acknowledged that his scoring prowess is due to having a vast amount of athletic ability, in addition to taking a cerebral approach to the game.
“I’m faster than your average soccer player. I use my speed to my advantage. I also use my skill to out-smart a defender. I know when to stop, go, slow down, or speed up, to catch a defender flat footed,” he said. “I’ve learned from several different coaches and I just combine the things I’ve been taught.”
Though he’s beginning to receive special recognition for his abilities, Bright has maintained an unassuming perspective. He understands that it’s vital to remain focused on continually improving his craft.
“That humble nature helps him tremendously because the coaches recognize it,” Mr. Bright stated. “He’s been a very coachable kid. That’s what many of his coaches have said about him.”
Bright’s willingness to receive instruction is linked to his Christian values.
“Being fast is just a gift that God gave me, so I use it,” he admitted. “My personality, I naturally don’t like to flaunt. Plus, being in church I understand that I need to use the gift God gave me and not brag about it.”
Humility has also served him well in academics.
Attending one of the most respected schools in the state of Missouri, Bright has managed to survive and excel in what is only his second year at Rockhurst. Justifiably, Bright takes pride in the fact that he’s receiving an elite high school education.
“It was a big change for me. I started off at Raytown Middle, and it really didn’t challenge me academically. But I now have to buckle down, and stay up late to study being at Rockhurst,” he said. “However, I like it now. I like being challenged, instead of taking it easy at another high school. Being at Rockhurst and being challenged … I know will pay off in the long run when I’m at college.”
How does Bright handle the rigorous academic standards of Rockhurst, while also participating in athletics?
“I’m always aware of the amount of homework I have, so I work faster when I need to,” he answered. “Also, sometimes – if we have time in class I’ll begin to do my homework. I try to finish as much of it as I can in class so I will not have as much homework when I get home.”
Mr. Bright has enjoyed watching his son be steadfast in handling the lofty academic requirements of Rockhurst, while also growing into a star in the sport of soccer.
“Coming out of Raytown Middle School, he had a 3.88 grade point average. He transfers to Rockhurst and it was a completely different story,” Mr. Bright stated. “There were things (material wise) that he had never seen before. It was a complete shift in gears for him. He had to step up his game.
“But – he really is doing well now at Rockhurst. At first it was a huge transition for him. But, he put his nose to the grindstone. He’s committed to doing well.”
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