By JAMES COOK
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Like when he came to Traverse City, Brad Richey is following in his family’s footsteps.
Richey verbally committed Friday to play soccer for Massachusetts, the same school his mother and several aunts and uncles attended.
“My mom went there, as did most of my family,” Richey said. “It’s always been in my family and been somewhere I’ve wanted to go since I was younger.”
He went to two camps there last year — in August and December — and was noticed enough by the coaching staff that they started recruiting him.
Richey said the Minutemen plan to use him as an outside back or defensive midfielder. He was a forward the last several seasons at Traverse City West, but that was out of necessity to give the Titans a little more scoring punch.
He’s been on defense since he was 8, and his three years at West were his first playing up top.
His family moved here from Melbourne Beach, Fla., during his sophomore year of high school.
“When your parents say we’re moving, you don’t have much say about it,” Richey joked.
His father grew up in Alpena, and he had an uncle and great aunt in the area. Plus he visited the area each summer at a family summer home in Suttons Bay, and trained with West coach Jason Carmien even before he played for the Titans.
“Cars has been helping me out with technical aspects of the game since I was 10 years old or so,” Richey said. “I attribute a lot of how good I’ve become over the last couple years to him. And my parents have helped me out a huge amount as far as playing soccer downstate, driving me all over the place and helping me get recruited.”
Richey plans to major in biochemistry at UMass, which had a 5-11-2 record last year. The Minutemen gave up an average of 1.78 goals a game, and scored 0.89 — both of which Richey hopes he can help improve.
“Long-term is definitely looking up,” Richey said. “Soccer changes so much from year to year. Last year may not have been the best year, but I think it was four or five years ago UMass went to the final four, the College Cup. It always changes.”