Women’s soccer captain Brenna McKee reflects on personal career, revealing season goals and overall team potential.
Q: What year are you and what do you study?
A: It’s my fourth year here at Rollins, so I’m an academic senior. I’ve only used three years of eligibility, so I’m a junior in terms of athletics, meaning I’ll be here next year as well.
Q: How long have you been playing soccer?
A: I’ve been playing since I was four years old. I was a rowdy child and my parents thought an athletic program might help keep me focused. My father played his whole life and loves soccer, so the choice was easy for them. Luckily, I picked it up pretty easily and enjoyed the game ever since.
Q: How were you sold on the idea of playing for Rollins?
A: Actually, my heart was pretty set on playing and studying at Wellesley College in the Boston area when I heard from Alicia (now head coach). It was a little late in the recruiting process and my mother and I had already taken a trip to Wellesley and I’d fallen in love with the campus there, it didn’t matter to me that it was a Division III school. Alicia, however, was a very persistent and charismatic saleswoman. She convinced us to take a trip to Winter Park and check out Rollins. We’ve all seen the overwhelming aesthetics of this campus and the area in general. Rollins also won me over on its weather. The field at Wellesley has to be snowplowed before their games and practices and being from central Texas I was wary about that to say the least. It also didn’t help that Wellesley is an all-girls school.
Q: What are your predictions for this year’s team? New players?
A: While I’m reluctant to claim glory before we’ve earned it, I can tell you that this year’s team has the potential to go further and reach new platforms then our program ever has before. The new group of freshmen is absolutely the most talented class that I’ve known in my four years here. There isn’t a single one of them that cannot compete for playing time on the field and they’ve blown us away in the games we’ve had thus far. There is so much raw skill that can be honed and sharpened in these girls, I’m very eager to see how they improve after a bit of experience under their belts.
Q: How is your season going so far?
A: We’ve only had a few pre-season scrimmages and two games, but we’ve been successful in those competitions and we’ve learned a lot about ourselves. We still have many things to work on and problems to solve, but we’re strong in the attack and we’ve been able to be successful in many different systems. I believe we have confidence in each other and that means we have a solid base to build from.
Q: You “red-shirted” one season; can you explain what that means, when, and why?
A: During the off-season of my freshman year (Spring) our team participated in a friendly 7v7 tournament. Unfortunately, during one of the last games of the day I was in a collision with a defender and I tore the ACL and lateral meniscus in my right knee. I had reconstructive surgery, but the rehab process was six months long and I was going to miss much of my sophomore season, if not all of it. So, the coaches and I decided that I should sit out that year in order to preserve my eligibility for another year.
(According to NCAA rules, collegiate athletes have four seasons to play their sport but a “red-shirt” allows them to delay their involvement in their sport for a season in order to maintain athletic eligibility.)
Q: What would you consider to be the most significant accomplishment of your soccer career?
A: Last year, we won the regular season conference title and we were told of our definite win during an away trip, so finding out all at the same time was an amazing feeling.
Q:Who are your biggest rivals (both personally and as a team)?
A: Within the conference, the University of Tampa is easily our biggest rival. During the 2011 and 2012 seasons they ended our run in the NCAA tournament, both times beating us in the second round here at Rollins. Outside of the conference, I think we always look to eclipse the University of West Florida. They are typically ranked at the top of our region and have been a difficult obstacle to overcome for us in seasons passed. Hopefully that changes on Friday!
Q: How many home-games do you have this season?
A: Right now, we have eight scheduled home games, our first is this Friday, September 13 against the reigning national champs, West Florida, and our last is on October 30th, which will be our Senior Night against Lynn University.
Q: Which ones would you consider big games that you hope to draw a lively crowd for?
A: Hopefully the games against West Florida (9/13) and Tampa (10/5) because those are the two games that I believe will be the best competitions and also our biggest challenges.