The Family Legacy

By Summer Brown

This series is brought to you by United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

It’s funny how life works sometimes.

Growing up, I never would have guessed that soccer would become such a big part of my life.

It all started with my dad.

When I was around four or five years old, he pulled me from gymnastics and insisted that I try soccer.

I guess he saw something special in me that I clearly couldn’t see myself at that point.

And I’m so grateful that he did.

Dad was always so passionate about soccer.

It was like a burning fire in his heart, and he passed that love on to me and my three brothers.

We were surrounded by the sport, and I guess it was inevitable that we would all end up playing as well.

Well, two of us, at least.

My older brother joined me on the soccer journey, while the other two chose different paths.

Navigating college offers

As the years went by, my passion for soccer grew stronger.

I would spend hours practicing and training outside of my team practices.

I wanted to be the best I could be.

And that dedication paid off.

I started getting noticed by coaches and recruiters, and I expected the college offers to start rolling in.

But life had different plans, and the offers didn’t necessarily “roll in.”

I began to feel discouraged, like I was falling behind my friends who had already committed to schools.

But I knew I couldn’t let that stop me.

I needed to keep pushing and working hard.

And then COVID hit. It was like a punch in the gut. I saw my dreams of getting more exposure at showcases and finding the perfect college slipping away.

But I did whatever I could to further improve during those testing times.

Glimpse of destiny

That summer, I attended a camp here at UNT.

It was there that fate stepped in and changed everything for me. I was in a group led by Olivia, a player on the UNT team, and she took notice of my skills.

She introduced me to John, the head coach, who watched me play and liked what he saw.

And just like that, I found myself with an offer from UNT.

I can’t even begin to describe the excitement and relief I felt in that moment. All the hard work, all the doubts, it had all paid off.

And it was all thanks to my dad, who instilled in me a love for the sport, and my mom, who supported me throughout it all.

Transitioning to a Division I program was not easy. It was a whole new level of intensity and competition.

And truthfully, it took some time to really adjust to the level.

After all, this was all new to me.

But with the support of my coaches and teammates, I made that happen.

I started gaining more confidence as time went on.

And this season, in particular, is starting to really show that, I think.

It all started with my dad. When I was around four or five years old, he pulled me from gymnastics and insisted that I try soccer. I guess he saw something special in me that I clearly couldn't see myself at that point. And I'm so grateful that he did.

Faith as my anchor

One thing that has always remained constant in my soccer journey is my faith.

Before every game, my team gathers for a prayer.

And personally, I have my own prayer as I step onto the field. I talk to God, asking for strength and guidance. My faith has been my anchor, giving me the confidence to push through challenges and believe in myself.

Some of these challenges were the moments I questioned myself.

I would wonder if I belonged at the DI level, especially early on.

But my faith and my family have always been there to lift me up. They have been my motivation and my support system.

I couldn’t have done it without them.

This season, I’ve had a breakout year. I’ve become one of the leading goal scorers on the team. It’s an incredible feeling to see my hard work paying off and to have my coaches and teammates believe in me.

It’s like a confirmation that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Life after UNT

As I look ahead to the future, I know I have so much more to achieve. I’m not sure where my path will take me after UNT, but I trust that God has a plan.

Whether it’s going to grad school or pursuing a career in my field of study, kinesiology, I know I’ll be guided in the right direction.

At the end of the day, what matters most to me is not the goals I score or the accolades I receive.

It’s the journey I’ve been on and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Soccer has taught me discipline, perseverance, and the importance of believing in myself.

And through it all, my faith and my family have been my rock, shaping me into the person and player I am today.

I’m so grateful that UNT and my family here have given me a platform to share my passion with others.