CLASS OF 2019: Soccer phenom Chad Bartlomé to be inducted into Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame | TheUnion.com

CLASS OF 2019: Soccer phenom Chad Bartlomé to be inducted into Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame

At times it looked as if Chad Bartlomé was a magician on the pitch.

His athletic ability coupled with unmatched skill with a soccer ball often left opponents confused and fans dazzled.

“He would make people dance on the soccer field,” said Kevin Bennett, who coached Bartlomé during his playing days at Nevada Union. “He would beat a guy, and that wasn’t good enough, so he’d pull it back and beat him again … He was just a phenomenal player.”

The 2001 Nevada Union graduate starred on the pitch for the Miners, playing three years on the varsity squad, earning All-Conference honors along the way and being named team MVP in 2001. For his soccer efforts in high school and beyond Bartlomé is being inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame on April 27.

It was like he was born with a ball on his feet,” said Jefferson Heidelberger, a close friend of Bartlomé and fellow Class of 2019 Hall of Fame inductee. “Combine his athleticism with that kind of skill, and it’s no wonder the success he’s had.”

When it comes to Nevada Union soccer, Bennett said Bartlomé is the best ever.

“What made him shine above everyone else was he was just so dedicated,” Bennett said.

His dedication to soccer was year-round. In addition to playing for the Miners, Bartlomé also played club soccer and was in the NorCal Olympic Development Program during his high school years. His club team at that time won state and regional titles and placed second at Nationals.

“Soccer has been massive for me my whole life, really,” said Bartlomé. “High school was no different. I gave up all other sports my freshman year to focus year-round on soccer and I worked at Samba Soccer all through high school and would play sometimes two or three matches every night.”

Hall of fame

Bartlomé said he’s honored to be included among the Class of 2019 inductees.

“It really means a lot,” he said. “Growing up in a time when soccer wasn’t really recognized as a big sport here in the states and soccer players didn’t necessarily get a lot of respect as athletes, things like this are symbolic of the rise of the sport and can hopefully serve as motivation for current soccer players at Nevada Union to work hard and strive to achieve great things.”

For Bartlomé, several moments stand out from his NU playing days, including a header to win a junior varsity game under the lights at Hooper Stadium and making spirited run in league play that nearly resulted in a playoff berth his junior season.

Bartlomé said it was his work ethic and “never give up” approach that set him apart. It’s an approach he’s applied to his adult life as well.

“I have always worked very hard for the goals that I set for myself,” he said. “I have always had a very strong ability to focus on those goals and not to let anything else stand in the way or deter me from them. Most of all, however, I have always had this never-give-up mentality inside. These are some of the most important qualities that I still have today and implement into the real world on a daily basis. These characteristics were shaped and molded throughout my youth and most definitely throughout my time at NU.”

He credits Bennett and Imed Dossy, ex-owner and operator of Samba Soccer, as being instrumental in his development as a soccer player at that time.

LIFE AFTER NU

Bartlomé’s prowess on the pitch did not go unnoticed by college coaches and he received a scholarship to attend and play for Oregon State. He played four years for the Beavers, and owns records for most points in a game (10), most goals in a game (4) and most assists in a game (3). He helped the Beavers place second in the Pac-10 in 2003 and reach the NCAA Division I tournament twice.

Bartlomé went on to play professionally for 11 years with various clubs in the U.S. and Switzerland, including the Portland Timbers, Sacramento Republic, FC Wohlen, SR Delémont, BSC Old Boys as well as others. He helped his teams to three championships along the way, including one with the Republic in 2014.

“One of the most proud moments for me has to be when I scored a header for Sacramento Republic FC in front of over 20,000 fans at Hughes Stadium,” Bartlomé said. “It was in the 93rd minute of one of the first home matches during the club’s first season to tie the game 1-1. I had been living in Switzerland at that point for 7 years and my friends and family hadn’t seen me play in a long time. So, many people were there who had supported me throughout my career and it was very special to bring them joy and share that moment with them.”

PASSING ON HIS KNOWLEDGE

Bartlomé has since retired as a player, but hasn’t strayed from the game. He currently runs the Bartlomé Soccer Academy in Basel, Switzerland, where he lives with his wife Bianca and their son.

He also started the Basler Soccer Projekt, which trains youth players, who couldn’t find a club, twice a week. It’s a free program for children that was supported by the Canton of Basel Stadt and is still running today. He no longer runs the program but remains involved.

APPRECIATIVE OF THE SUPPORT

Bartlomé expressed gratitude for his parents for all their support along the way.

“Without their unwavering support and guidance, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I am forever grateful for them.”

He also thanked the coaches he’s had along the way as well as Jo-Anne Arendell and the Samba Soccer crew for their support his entire career going back to his high school days.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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