As the Sandcrabs' goal keeper, Bowling prefers stopping goals — not scoring them.
Cameron Bowling was born into a soccer-loving family.
His dad, Rob Bowling, played for Mainland High School and has been an assistant coach at Seabreeze for nearly a decade. His older brother, Jordan Bowling, played for the Sandcrabs four years ago, and his younger brother, Peyton Bowling, is currently a midfielder on JV.
“I grew up in a soccer-minded culture,” said Cameron, who is the Sandcrabs’ starting goal keeper. “I was just eased into it. It was like slipping on a glove.”
Cameron started playing at age 5. He played in rec leagues and loved it. But several incidents in the coming years changed how he was to play the game forever.
Growing up, Cameron used to buzz around in go-karts in the open fields behind his grandparents’ house in Lake Mary. When Cameron was 7, he was racing and hit a bump at 35 mph. His right leg flew out of the go-kart, which didn’t have side barriers, and was sucked underneath the back tire.
He broke his tibia, fibula and femur.
Cameron could only think of one thing on his way to the hospital: “I just remember looking for my brothers and making sure they were with me.”
He didn’t have to have surgery, but he had a full body cast for eight weeks. He couldn’t sleep in his own room, which was upstairs in his family’s home. He slept in a makeshift room downstairs.
“I couldn’t get up or walk,” he said. “I couldn’t even go to the bathroom by myself.”
He recovered well, but two years later, he had to have surgery for another ailment.
Cameron used to walk only on his toes. As a result, his Achilles tendon was too short. He needed surgery to lengthen it so he could walk correctly.
And one day, he noticed something while on the soccer pitch: The injuries had taken their toll on his athletic ability.
“I started to get the feeling that I wasn’t able to run with everyone else,” he said. “I just couldn’t keep up.”
He couldn’t play in-field for too much longer. He made a slow transition to goal keeper when he was in seventh grade, playing both in-field and keeper. And when he finally got to Seabreeze his freshman year, he completely transitioned over to the goal.
It’s been like that ever since, and he’s loved every minute of it. He prefers stopping goals — not scoring them.
“I really like the idea of keeping my team in the game when I make a save,” Cameron said. “I don’t like being the starstruck person who scores all the goals and gets all the attention. I like being the unsung hero.”