By Jeffrey Batt | firstname.lastname@example.org
Not often as a freshman do you get the chance to start in a collegiate soccer game. Well, that rare moment became a reality for Flagler freshman soccer player, Annie Breen.
Breen’s moment came when veteran midfielder Cassie Fernandez went down with an injury. Through this unfortunate circumstance, the Flagler’s women’s team found that they had a future leader in Breen with her fresh legs, and her ability to supply her squad with the depth they needed.
“I think I did good, coming in as a freshman you get stressed out before a game and my stomach would hurt, but once you heard the whistle blow it is about the game and it is about not messing up.”
During that stretch of games where Breen had her big opportunity she captured her first goal with force as it was the game winner against Peach Belt Conference rival, Lander University. The picture perfect moment could not have come at a more perfect time as the goal lifted the Saints further up in the standings and boosted the teams moral.
“It gave me so much confidence. I was so happy, that was a big win for us, I did not have the best second half, but it gave me confidence that I could score here.”
Born and raised in Frederick, Maryland with four sisters, Breen first started touching the ball or “football,” depending on where your fandom resides, when she was young and today it continues to pay dividends for the freshman.
“My parents put me on academy teams ever since I was 4 years old and I never stopped since then. You just find a passion for it.”
Standing at a height of 5 feet and 11 inches, Breen uses her height to advantage, whether it is aggressively fighting with a defender for a ball in the air, or heading a ball in for a goal from a corner kick. As a freshman in high school she played on the girls basketball team, she did not score much, but used her size as a rebounder.
“I am always like, yeah you can’t mess with me! It helps, I am a goofy, awkward kind of girl. I am lanky and awkward and I know that, but the height factor just comes into play. It is more of your skill that gives you confidence.”
Soccer is a game of constant movement for 90 minutes, which when you watch collegiate or professional players you always wonder how they can do it. Breen says it is hard to be in that situation for that long, but basically you have to suck it up and keep on fighting.
“After 90 minutes your legs are done and then it just comes down to whether or not you are willing to push past that.”
When it came to picking schools Breen loved the state of Maryland, but wanted to get away from home for a little bit. Initially Towson University, a Division I program, but luckily she was playing in San Diego for a tournament with her club team and Flagler Head Coach, Ashley Martin, came by to check out her skills. The rest is history.
“He came to watch me for about 15 minutes. Then he invited me to a camp down here, he gave me a tour of campus and I fell in love. You can’t beat the Flagler campus. Flagler had everything I wanted academically. I would rather have a small class where you could communicate with your professor rather than sitting in a huge lecture hall with hundreds of kids.”
Even though she is only a freshman, Breen is looking to the future and wants to take full advantage of her time here. Her goals are very simple, but will ask for a lot of hard work from the team as they compete against the best in the Peach Belt Conference.
“I definitely want to win the Peach Belt Conference and make it to the NCAA tournament.”
Most athletes look up to people for inspiration throughout there careers, whether it is a sports player or public figure, but being the family-oriented girl she is, Breen’s inspiration are her parents and her five sisters.
Unlike many Flagler students who come in wanting major in education, communications, or sports management, Breen is taking a different path as she wants to pursue a career in criminology. Although, she is not sure if she will stick with it yet, but her dream job is to work with the FBI. Main course of reasoning is to change people’s opinions and avoid the police brutality that has been a big part of the news the past couple years.
“Even if I change one person’s opinion, just one person, that does something to help out.”