E.J. McAdams’ steady, dependable presence on the pitch made him one of coach Tyler Frank’s first picks on the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs’ soccer lineup card.
It also helped McAdams extend his career, with an opportunity to play at his coach’s alma mater. McAdams signed with Texas College, located in Tyler, on May 19.
McAdams had a handful of schools showing interest, but none had yet seemed to be making a commitment. That’s when Texas College coach Marco Mthembu called Frank.
Frank also played at Texas College and was a team captain for Mthembu. When Mthembu inquired about any unsigned seniors Frank might have, Frank told him about McAdams and sent him some requested video.
“I told him everything about E.J.,” Frank said, “how reliable he is and what kind of character he has — and you add some attributes to it that he has on the field — and he was very interested and they pursued him.”
The feeling became mutual. Frank’s experience there was a big selling point for McAdams.
“I knew that if my coach went there and went through the program that it’d have to be a good program,” McAdams said.
McAdams, who earned All-District 12-6A Honorable Mention, was a player Frank could put on the field at the right back position and never worry about.
“He was probably the first person I logged in as a starter just about every game,” Frank said. “He’s very consistent, very reliable. You know what you’re going to get when you put him out there.”
McAdams is also respected in the school and community. His signing ceremony was almost a parade.
“If you would have been at his signing day, you would have seen he had probably 50 people throughout from beginning to end,” Frank said.
E.J. — Eldridge Jr. — was named after his father, who was the head girls basketball coach at Copperas Cove for six years before stepping down after the 2019 season. It was soccer, however, to which E.J. gravitated from an early age, and he’s used to explaining that curious departure.
“I get asked that a lot,” he said with a laugh.
E.J. will study business marketing at Texas College and plans to be a marketing executive.