This post is the latest in our highlight series of NCSA Athletic Recruiting employees. Today I caught up with Ellen Brown, head women’s soccer recruiting coach. (To the right, above.)
We’re always looking for new members to join our team. If you’re interested in a career in sports, check out our employment opportunities.
First things first, Ellen – where were you born and raised?
I was born in New York state, but grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. I am the middle of three sisters.
Three girls – that can be a handful. Was soccer something you used to kind of separate from the pack?
Soccer has always been a huge part of my life. I played soccer in high school and became the starting varsity goalie halfway through my freshman year. We won state that year, which was really exciting as a freshman. I also played club soccer throughout that time and won many state tournaments and competed in regionals. I played on the Kentucky ODP team, which was a great experience.
Fun fact – I was also on the swim team in high school and played classical piano for over a decade until I just didn’t have the time with my soccer commitments.
Needless to say, you were an active student-athlete. What was the recruiting process like for you?
Coming out of high school, I had several options, including two Division I programs, but ended up choosing to go to Grove City College in Pennsylvania. It’s a Division III institution, and I loved the academics and atmosphere. I played soccer there – I was All-Conference both years, Freshman of the Year, and helped team win their first conference championship. I was also on the swim team and played club lacrosse one season.
Well…WOW! Did you play all three sports your whole college career? When did you sleep?
No, unfortunately I tore my ACL (a story I only tell after a few beers), and I took a semester off. I then walked on to the soccer team at University of Kentucky. The head coach had trained me as a high school goalkeeper, and my club team had played against them in spring games where I did well. I played my last two years there, where we were ranked in the Top 20. We lost in the SEC tournament my senior year to the eventual national champions, University of Florida – with freshman Abby Wambach on their roster.
Sharing the field with Abby Wambach – that has to be pretty cool. Is she one of your favorite athletes?
I grew up as the daughter of musicians, so we didn’t watch a lot of sports. Women’s soccer wasn’t big, even after the US won the first Women’s World Cup in 1991. Actually, several of the team members spoke to us at ODP region camp about their experience that summer. Of that, I only remember the silly celebrations they mentioned like running around banging soda cans on their heads, etc. All that is to say, I’ve never had any athlete that I really idolize. I love Messi and Ronaldinho, but my favorite athlete is probably my husband, Cory, who is a Cat 3 cyclist.
That’s awesome – you guys are a seriously athletic couple. What would you chalk up as your greatest athletic achievement?
I have probably achieved more as a coach than as a player. I’d say making the NCAA tourney as an assistant with Ole Miss was an awesome experience.
So you were a college coach before coming to NCSA. Have you always pursued a career in sports? How did you start on our team?
I used NCSA as a coach before working here, and got an email about an opening at NCSA. I remember leaving my job and taking the train to my interview. I was so impressed with the operation and thought Jeff Schlitt would be an awesome person to work for – and he is! I’ve now been the Head Recruiting Coach for women’s soccer since 2013, and we recently added a second woman in this position, too.
Well we’re so lucky to have you on team. Final question I have to ask everyone – last meal on Earth, what would it be?
I’ve had two meals that I will never forget – the kind you don’t even want to finish so there’s evidence that food this good actually did exist. One was from a chef I was dating at the time, and the other was on my honeymoon in Jamaica. I’d go back to Jamaica for my last meal.
If you’re interested in working with people like Jeff and Ellen because of your love in sports, we’re looking for talented, passionate individuals.
And if you’re a high school soccer player looking for an opportunity to learn from Ellen’s wisdom and the helpful advice of all of our other scouts and recruiting coaches, we’re here to help. The best way to start is with a recruiting profile.