It’s Cole Heath’s final season to play soccer at Grapevine this year.
The senior defender will wind up a span of 10 years with at least one of the four Heath brothers playing for the Mustangs.
Ryne, Jake, Ben and now Cole will be the last in a series at the end of an era.
Oddly enough, all four Heath brothers have played under outgoing head coach Heath Bullard.
Bullard is completing his 30th season with Grapevine and stepping away after this season.
For Heath, it’s his fourth year on the varsity squad culminating about half his life being involved in Mustangs soccer.
Although Heath was a member of the varsity team in his freshman year, he first started walking the soccer sidelines when he was in elementary school.
Bullard recalls seeing Heath come to a holiday break practice with one of his older brothers as a 9-year old.
“We let him play with us,” Bullard said of the visit to practice.
Now, Heath is looking to create memories of his own as the Mustangs look to enter another playoff season.
Health said he expects his baker’s dozen of seniors to lead the Mustangs past a bi-district championship, which they claimed last year.
“We’re eying a district championship and we certainly hope to go farther,” Heath said. “We’ve had a few guys missing here and there and now we have the guys on the field. We just need to iron out the offense a little and play cleaner. All the pieces are there. We just have to make it all work.”
Heath knows while the offense comes around, he’ll be counted on to help nail down the defense.
“I’ve always been defensive-minded and I try not to dribble too much and I prefer to stay in the back,” Heath said. “I like having the whole field in front of me and help direct things.”
Early on, Heath said his smaller size kept him focusing on his quickness, speed and cutting ability.
“Since (his freshman year) I’ve put on about 15 to 20 pounds and it’s helped me challenge guys more,” he said. “I had to play that scrappy kind of soccer. It was my only way to stay alive.”
Heath is also left-footed, which helps him feel confident as a left-back. The left-footer was also the Mustangs’ placekicker on the football field.
The transition from one sport to the other was one Heath easily managed, but he knew the kicking motion had to change with the sport.
In soccer, Heath explained, a soccer kick will tend to push a ball high and left. In football, the ball will have a tendency to go low and right.
“You’re kicking forward in football and you have more hip rotation in soccer,” Heath said.
Whether it is on the football or soccer field, Heath is well-rounded, having just been awarded the Mr. Mustang award at school.
But it won’t be on the field that Heath is looking to excel next year.
Heath is planning to attend Texas A&M next year, where he intends to study engineering.
“I want to play soccer in college but at A&M, it’s just intramurals for me,” he said.
Before he leaves Grapevine, though, Heath said he enjoys working with the younger players such as freshman Ian Arendse.
“He takes care of himself on the field,” Heath said of Arendse. “He’s a lot like I was as a freshman and I see myself in him, in a way. He’s scrappy.”