Lindsay Brauer is set to make her debut for the USF women’s soccer team.
After being forced to sit out last season because the University of Tennessee wouldn’t release her after transferring, Brauer made her first appearance against High Point on Aug. 25. (At press time, the results of Brauer’s start were unavailable.)
“It was really frustrating having to sit out. I’m not used to being on the bench,” Brauer said. “What made it so tough was that I wasn’t injured; I just couldn’t play.”
Despite being unable to participate in games last season, Brauer kept her focus by continuing to practice with the team. Even though she wasn’t out on the field during a game, Brauer still provided a major influence over the team.
“She has injected a tough mentality into our team,” coach Logan Fleck said. “I don’t know of anyone that is more motivated than Lindsay, and it’s a thrill to finally have her ready to play for us.”
The loss of Brauer was magnified while USF struggled to a 7-7-3 record last season. Fleck said he could see Brauer’s frustration building, but her determination prevented her from getting discouraged.
“Especially since we struggled last season; not playing pressed even more on my mind,” Brauer said. “Just knowing that you can’t help your team, it feels horrible. It had to be the most frustrating situation that I’ve ever been in.”
Tennessee had an opportunity to sign a release allowing Brauer to play in the spring, but opted not to clear her. Not having Brauer on the field cost the Bulls one of their most explosive offensive weapons.
“Lindsay is an unbelievable player. It was tough having her on the sidelines last year,” goalkeeper Casey Garrett said. “All she did was train last year in hopes of playing. She has forced everyone to play to a higher standard because of her extreme dedication.”
Coming out of high school, Brauer was one of the most heavily recruited players in Florida. In 2004, she scored 69 goals and registered 162 goals for her career.
Fleck has been even more impressed by Brauer’s determination than her excellent play. While she could have easily given up and let her frustration get to her, she battled through the hard times and has become one of the Bulls’ leaders.
“Lindsay has had everything possible done to her to not play soccer,” Fleck said. “She has gone through everything. We know that we can count on her; she has been an inspiration to the whole team.”
So after a full year, Brauer is excited about her first appearance in a Bulls’ uniform.
“The feeling of playing with the team is incredible,” Brauer said. “(Sitting out) absolutely makes you appreciate the game a lot more.”