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Academy Spotlight: Hughes goes Division I after Dallas Cup title

By Chris Mattingly, 05/17/23, 1:45PM EDT


The defender from Madison Central will play this fall at Bellarmine.

Courtesy of Michael Day

Sam Hughes, a defender for the LouCity Academy’s U-19 team, has had a big spring.

The Madison Central senior participated in LouCity’s April 9 win at the Dallas Cup, a prestigious Easter week tournament, and a week later announced his commitment to play college soccer locally at Bellarmine University on April 16.

We caught up with Hughes, from Richmond, Kentucky, for this latest Academy Spotlight.

How did you get started playing soccer? 

I would say my brother and sister got me into soccer. They are both older than me, so I remember watching their games when I was younger. It was as if it was love at first sight. Once I started, I just fell in love with the game and I haven’t looked back since.”

How has your experience been with the LouCity Academy so far? 

My experience with the academy has been amazing. I believe I have had some of the best coaches since I have been here. Between Simon Bird, Luke Spencer and Kenny Walker, they have all taught me different aspects of the game that have helped me become the player I am now. They have taught me how to read different spaces, different presses and a winning mentality. I really can’t say enough nice things about them as men, coaches and being mentors for us. I truly believe I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today if it weren’t for the academy. I can’t wait to see how the academy continues to grow over the next few years.”

What has the academy taught you? 

The academy has taught me a lot of things. One thing I think I will take away the most that they have taught me is always having new goals in mind and never being satisfied. I believe that is something they have done very well. They have a system called individual development plan, where we talk with the coaches one on one about our goals and steps to achieve those goals. We also discuss things that we can improve on as well. Another lesson I have learned is is self-reflection. I believe this has been a big factor into my development as well.”

What have you learned from your teammates? 

Something that I have learned from my teammates is being accountable for one another. We compete at a very high level, so even in training and games we hold each other to a high standard. They have also taught me that when we as a collective group have a goal in mind anything is possible. That was shown throughout the Dallas Cup tournament. We had the goal in mind to win as a group and we achieved it through our hard work.”

What are your future plans?

“My future plans are to attend Bellarmine University to play and get a degree. I haven’t decided what I want to major in yet, but I am thinking about business. I would like to play professional soccer one day as well. It has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I am just going to continue to keep working and pushing myself to be the best possible player and person I can be. I am looking forward to meeting my new coaches and teammates at Bellarmine. I hope to make a positive impact for the team and provide them with something different that they maybe haven’t had in previous years.”