February 13, 2013 - Connor Bright had to make a tough decision at the beginning of his final year in high school - play his final senior soccer season with the Wolves or with Vardar.
Nathan Yeloushan and Chris Calvano with their football coaches, far left, Rich Porritt, to the right Phil Price and Kurt Richardson. Photos by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
"He loves, adores and worked three years for his high school team," added his mom, Jennifer Bright. "He had to make a tough decision to pursue collegiate attention.
He chose Vardar, his year round travel team, and as he signed his letter of intent last Thursday to play for Oakland University, the decision worked out for him.
"Staying true to his overall goal paid off," Jennifer smiled.
"It's the highest level," Bright said about staying with Vardar. "It is very competitive and will be what college will be like because most of the coaches played in college. They can prepare you for what's next. I'm really excited to be moving forward and playing on a collegiate level."
Connor has played soccer his entire life, since he could remember.
Connor Bright (click for larger version)
"It was just natural," he added. "My parents started me in Kiddy Kickers. Then, saw I was excelling in it so I started playing on travel teams. It kept progressing from there."
Connor chose Oakland University because it was close to home and the new medical program.
"It's what I wanted to study," he said. "It will be a good fit for me. It is something I always wanted to do. I want to do something in sports medicine and stay in the sports theme because it has been a big part of my life. It has taught me a lot of life lessons, how to be a good person and a leader."
Seniors Chris Calvano and Nate Yeloushan also signed their letters of intent as they plan to continue their football career in college.
Calvano selected Grand Valley State University for the facilities, the school and the education they offer. He was looking for a Division II school and it also helped his brother is attending the same school.
"I am happy about the school I am going to," he smiled. "I am extremely excited. It's a big step and I am ready for it."
Calvano plans to study mechanical engineering and explained his dad is an engineer and his grandpa was a mechanical engineer.
"I feel like I am a lot like him," he added.
Calvano began playing football in fourth grade because his older brothers were already played the sport.
He added as he was growing up looking up to his brothers, watching the other players on the team and living in the area helped him with his football skills.
"You get used to the way things are so once you get there you are more prepared," Calvano said.
It has also helped him with the steps it took him to get to each level until he was on the varsity team.
"It's almost easier than it seems for the transition," he reflected. "It will be definitely a harder transition from high school to college but I can handle it."
The Clarkston program has also prepared Yeloushan for when he goes to Sienna Heights University in the fall.
"It has always been a great role model growing up," he said. "As I have gotten older what we do here in Clarkston is win and it will help me in life. Clarkston is definitely a well-known school with a lot of connections and respect. The coaches I have played for and the teammates I have had have really shaped me into a great person and gave me the tools to be successful with whatever I do."
Yeloushan began playing football in sixth grade after having the desire and drive to play the game.
"I went to the games with mom and dad on Friday night and it looked like a lot of fun," he smiled.
He also had a dream to play college football and added signing felt great and accomplished.
He is undecided on his focus on study.
Calvano isn't finished with football yet. He is playing in the Michigan High School Football Coaches Associations All-Star game this summer on the East team.
"It is an honor," he said. "It's going to be at my school, too, so it will be fun. I will be mentally prepared for it, too."
Calvano competes this week in the MHSAA Wrestling Regionals and Yeloushan can be found on the court with the varsity boys basketball team.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.