At first glance, Becky Brown ’11 may not appear to be the typical soccer forward. While most players that occupy that position usually stand at about 5’8” or 5’9”, Brown is only 5’1”. But apart from her small frame, her capabilities as a soccer player are also anything but average.
“She plays bigger than her size,” head coach Rudy Meredith said. “I was very happy that we got the opportunity to get her from the beginning. I knew she was going to be a great player here.”
Today Brown is the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, and that’s just one of many soccer accolades that she has accumulated during her career as a Bulldog. As her final season winds down, she is poised to go down in Yale history as one of the best players the program has ever had.
In fact, she has been making the women’s soccer team ever since she first stepped on the field as a freshman. Brown’s first career goal not only came in her first game as a Bulldog, but it also turned out to be the game-winning goal in a matchup against Bucknell.
“I remember I was really excited about it,” Brown said. “Obviously as a freshman you’re really nervous and jittery, and it was kind of the moment when I got over that.”
That goal turned out to be only the first of many to come. Over the course of her first two seasons at Yale, Brown racked up 12 goals, 13 assists and 37 points. She was also named the team’s most valuable player during her sophomore year.
After that season, Brown spent the summer training in California with elite soccer players from Division I programs, such as Stanford, UCLA and USC. She said that the experience was valuable in taking her game to the next level.
“I was exposed to the best players in the nation, and I really think I learned a lot from them,” Brown said. “It strengthened my game, it made me play a lot faster, and it made me see the game better.”
Brown returned to Yale in the fall extremely fit and ready for the soccer season to begin, and it showed. Brown went on to score 13 goals her junior year, good for second in the Ivy League. She also tallied 30 points, which was also the second highest in the league. Her impressive numbers earned her the title of Ivy League Player of the Year. It was only the third time a Yale player had ever been awarded that honor.
“She was focused and determined to have a great season,” Meredith said. “It was one of those things where all her hard work paid off.”
One of Brown’s greatest assets on the field is her agility. Meredith said that one of the things that sets her apart from other players is her speed and her ability to change directions quickly.
“Some players are just quick, some players are just fast, but she’s quick and fast,” Meredith explained. “That’s a lethal combination. She always causes problems for the other team’s defense.”
Midfielder Enma Mullo ’12 echoed Meredith and said that Brown’s agility makes a big impact on the team’s performance.
“She’s really fun to watch because she’s really fast, but she can basically turn on a dime, so you never know what she’s going to do,” Mullo said. “When you give her the ball you’re so confident that she’s going to do something with it.”
However, as a result of having such a successful campaign last year, Brown has been heavily defended by opposing teams this season. Though Brown leads this year’s team in goals, assists and points, she hasn’t been able to match her junior year numbers.
“Some of the things that have being happening to her on the field, people would get arrested for off the field,” Meredith said. “She’s been double teamed, triple teamed, kicked, tackled, jersey pulled. She’s been mugged on the field pretty much the entire season. To her credit, she’s never lost her composure, never got a red card or yellow card, never retaliated, which is not easy to do when you’re getting mugged every week.”
Nevertheless, as her last season comes to a close, Brown has already etched her name into the Yale record books as one of the best soccer players in the program’s history.
Her 29 career goals are second in school history, just 10 shy of the record. Going into her senior year, she was also tied for fifth in career assists with 17 and ranked sixth in career points with 67. And with two games left in the season, she still has time to add to her already impressive totals.
“She’s going to have a great legacy here,” Meredith said. “I was joking with her parents a couple of weeks ago, I said, ‘If you want to go ahead and make another Becky, I’ll be waiting for her here at Yale.’”