You might have seen her on campus with her two adorable children and her three very large dogs, or maybe in the hallways of Buck always looking stylish. You’ve probably wondered, who is that new face at Bowdoin? The new member of the Bowdoin community that I’m referring to is the head women’s soccer coach, Brianne Weaver. I had the opportunity to sit down with Coach Weaver before she headed to Amherst for a playoff game this weekend, and I learned a little bit more about her past, her transition to Brunswick, and how she’s helped the women’s soccer team have such a successful season.
Chelsea: So, before you came to Bowdoin where were you coaching?
Brianne: I bounced around the mid-Atlantic region a lot during my life, but before I came to Bowdoin I had been coaching at St. Mary’s College of Maryland for six years.
Chelsea: Maryland huh? That sounds a little bit different. How has the transition to Bowdoin and the greater Brunswick community been for you and your family?
Brianne: It’s been a great transition, it is different but in a very positive way for me and my family. We like the small town feel, we like the fact that campus is in the town, we like the outdoors. Because we moved here during the summer months we were regulars of cotes’. The kids have especially enjoyed the greater campus, the greater community, and all the amenities that offers. Things are a lot slower, people are kinder, and we’ve actually really enjoyed our transition.
Chelsea: That’s great to hear. So how did you end up at Bowdoin?
Brianne: So I actually visited campus for the first time about 10 years ago. I was visiting friends on the faculty and staff; I fell in love with it instantly. All of the interactions I had were very positive, and people seemed to work very hard, but they were still community minded, willing to engage, willing to help others. Ever since that first visit I‘ve kept that in mind because I was so impressed with it.
Chelsea: That sounds exactly like Bowdoin. So let’s talk about soccer. Can you talk a little bit about your goals for the season starting out?
Brianne: I knew that there was a great amount of talent on the team and they felt that they were ready to make a push to compete beyond what they had done in the past few years. These girls took ownership of the team in the absence of a coach, which really said a lot about them. Their previous coach, Maren Rojas, did a great job of explaining to them what they’d have to do to get to that level. They got together to play and workout in the off-season, they really took their goals seriously. When I came in, this team had just lost their leading scorer Ellery Gould, which is a challenge in itself. I saw that as an opportunity to instill a team attacking mentality so that we played a more offensively oriented style of play. The team embraced that right away, we were able to get a couple of good results in the beginning of the season, and that helped to build confidence.
Chelsea: Can you talk a little bit about the team persona or what you feel characterizes the team?
Brianne: This team has a very strong work ethic; they’re very coachable, and they’re confident in their abilities. There’s really strong team chemistry, and they’re a lot of fun. I think when members of a team are enjoying themselves and feel like they’re a part of something positive there’s a strong commitment to excellence, and that’s what we have on this team. They are each personally invested. They were responsible for building this themselves. The fact that they wanted to know what they had to do to compete at this level, and then they went about and did it tells me that they’re a pretty special group.
Chelsea: What’s been the toughest moments in the season thus far?
Brianne: There’s been some adversity-- we haven’t won every game, and we’ve had some injuries. As we sort out how the team works best, there are questions from players about how they can be a bigger part of it, and that’s a part of every team. I think without the adversity we wouldn’t be as strong of as team as we are today.
Chelsea Bruno: What about favorite moments from the season so far?
Brianne: The things that actually come to mind are just when they have succeeded and you can tell that they’re having fun while they’re playing. When their hard work has paid off. This has happened multiple times, in multiple hard games. Just watching it all come together for them, that’s a favorite of mine. You help them strive for something they want to achieve, and then you watch it happen.
Chelsea: What do you think the team is feeling heading in to your play off game this weekend against Williams at Amherst?
Brianne: Playoffs lead to mixed mentality and that’s when it’s good for the coach to help regulate. We know its high stakes, and we want to be the team that advances. We’re going to do everything we can to get that. I know there’s also a great deal of excitement because they’ve worked really hard and now they’re going to get the chance to play for the championship.
Chelsea: Well that leads me to my final question-What are your thoughts for moving forward?
Brianne: We want to keep competing at the level that we’re at right now. We want to be a team that does well in the conference, that is seen as a regional power, and we would like to have a chance to compete for the championship every year. We have a history of excellence in athletics here at Bowdoin already, and we want to compete in the NCAA tournament. We’re striving to be one of these teams. Of course we want to do all of this while maintaining the current character we have on the team-good students, involved citizens in the community, and great people. We want both of those things to happen simultaneously.