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Bishop Gorman soccer star matches profile of MLS defender

Caden Buckley led Bishop Gorman High School to a 26-0-1 record and the Class 4A state championship and was rewarded with the Gatorade Nevada Boys Soccer Player of the Year award. (Photo: Greg Cava/Bishop Gorman High School)

LAS VEGAS (BVM) – Bishop Gorman High School has an impressive lineage of standout soccer players. The Gaels have produced nine Gatorade Nevada Boys Soccer Player of the Year winners, and their most recent recipient reminds Bishop Gorman’s head coach of a professional.

“His size, speed and raw talent makes him the perfect Division I athlete,” Doug Borgel, Bishop Gorman director of soccer, said of Caden Buckley. “His profile matches very closely to another former BG soccer player, Tristan Blackmon.

Blackmon was the No. 3 overall pick by the Los Angeles Football Club in the 2018 MLS Draft, and before his professional career, was the 2017 West Coast Conference Defender of the Year at the University of Pacific. It’s here where the comparisons between Blackmon and the Gaels’ latest Gatorade Nevada Boys Soccer Player of the Year begin.

Buckley doesn’t have flashy offensive stats – seven goals and six assists in 2019 – but his defensive prowess makes him dominant on the pitch.

The 6-foot, 160-pound senior defender led Bishop Gorman to a 26-0-1 record, the Class 4A state championship and notched the only assist in a 1-0 win over Eldorado High School in the state final this past season. Borgel said he doesn’t believe the team is nearly as successful without Buckley, adding “I would be willing to say without him, we do not win the state title.

The Nevada Preps All-Southern Nevada Player of the Year, Buckley is a three-time all-state selection who impacted the game in ways other than just scoring goals.

“Caden Buckley is a player that will not have a lot of stats as far as scoring and assists, but what Caden does is far more important than that,” Jose Gomez, head coach of Palo Verde High School, said in a Gatorade press release. “He is the spark plug of that defense. He is extremely physical, good in the air and has a work rate that matches his mentality: non-stop.”

Borgel’s praise is more of the same.

Caden has the uncanny ability to impact games without having to score goals,” Borgel said. “He is able to mark the opposing team’s best player at any time and then affect the attack for his team just moments later. He is tremendous in the air and his ability to read the game helps tremendously on the counterattack.

Buckley played in the High School All-American Game in December and was also a participant in the U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Olympic Development Program, but the senior’s brightest days are likely still ahead.

Santa Clara University is where Buckley will be headed next to continue his academic and athletic career. A defensive specialist with plenty of talent and room for improvement, Buckley might have even more in common with LAFC’s Blackmon in just a few years.

“Caden’s upside is unlimited,” Borgel said. “He has good size, great speed, talented with both feet, reads the game very well and is a very good leader on and off the field. I think Caden will have an immediate impact at Santa Clara. I also think the sky’s the limit for Caden beyond college.”

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