Ever since he began playing soccer at an early age, Petal High School senior Sam Bullock has dreamed of playing the sport at the next level, in particular for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston.
That dream came true on April 28, when Bullock signed his Letter of Intent to play with MGCCC beginning in the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.
“I’m very excited; it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and I’ve always been really intrigued by their program,” he said. “They’re one of the top in the state, and it’s just been something I’ve wanted to do my whole life.
Currently, Sam plays to stay at MGCCC for two years before coming back home to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. However, if an offer comes up for a soccer stint at another four-year university, he is open to that as well.
“That’s really what I’m trying to do the most right now,” Sam said. “I’ve been playing soccer since I was 3 (years old), so I guess that’s been about 15 years.
“I played (Hattiesburg Youth Soccer Association) for maybe five or six years, and then I played Petal soccer since seventh grade, and I was a manager in sixth grade. So (I’ve been playing with Petal) for about six years.”
Academically, Sam was looking at pursuing a physical education degree to perhaps get a career as a coach.
“If my passion for playing soccer doesn’t work out, I’d love to coach it,” he said. “I feel like that’s one of the biggest things that helped me through my soccer career, is having a coach that can help you through everything that’s difficult about soccer.
“And there are many things that are difficult about soccer.”
Sam’s passion for soccer started at an early age, as he would turn to the game any time he got upset or anxious.
“It’s always relaxing to go outside and play soccer,” he said. “I don’t know; I just find peace with just running, and it’s a fun sport.
“It’s one that came by when I was young, because I just run all the time, and that’s one thing about me, that I just always have to stay moving. So I guess that was the best sport for it.”
Sam’s father Craig, who serves as Ward 6 Alderman for the City of Petal, said he is extremely proud of Sam for realizing his goal.
“We’re just incredibly proud and excited for him,” Craig said. “This has been his dream for really as long as he’s known what college is, and he’s always been infatuated with soccer.
“Really, the last several years, he’s always had a desire to play with Gulf Coast. They have, year-in and year-out, one of the top junior college programs in the state, and even in the nation. He set his goals a couple of years ago to be able to make this team and to play this team, and we couldn’t be more proud of him.”