WILLIAMSBURG — As the Spring 2022 sports season gets underway for the Lafayette High School (LHS) girls soccer team, the team’s seniors find themselves entering the season in which some of them are making commitments to continue on with their soccer careers at the collegiate level.
LHS senior forward Brooke Potter is one of those athletes and is committed to playing for Wake Forest University (WFU).
The local talent joined the Rams last season during her junior year of high school. It was a season where she walked off the pitch with 28 goals and 11 assists to her name. In that same season, she was the regional player of the year; a feat that she accomplished in 13 games.
“I started playing when my sister started playing,” said Brooke in an interview with WYDaily. “My older sister plays at William & Mary for the women’s soccer team. She started playing when we were 4 and 5. I guess it was my sister. Her love for soccer. I kind of just attached on to it, and when I saw that she could go so far with it I wanted to do exactly what she did.”
Brooke has lived in the area for her entire life and grew up playing soccer with her sister for various teams including recreational, club, and school teams. When she reached middle school, Brooke joined a club team at the Virginia Development Academy, which is described on the Academy’s website as a “… summit of the elite player pathway for Prince William Soccer and Virginia Soccer Association. Formed in 2015, the collaborative partnership represents more than 8,000 players and participates in the Boys’ and Girls’ Elite Clubs National League.” She played for the club team in eighth, ninth, and tenth grades.
“So my club team was in a league called the Development Academy which is run by U.S. Soccer and they had certain clubs in it so that they could watch the youth players of America,” said Brooke. “They didn’t want us to play high school soccer, maybe because of the risk of getting injured. Part of the reason was that it was a full-year season. So we started in the fall and ended in June. We got two months off and then the same thing.”
Brooke also said that she is going to remember the experiences she made with her team and with LHS Head Coach Kellie Ernst as she continues her athletic career at WFU. A big experience was going on to win regionals last year, with the Rams making it all the way to the state semi-finals.
“It just kind of shows her strength as an attacker. She’s clearly played at a very high level her whole entire career of soccer,” said Coach Ernst in an interview with WYDaily. “I mean, just from day one. When you watch her play she stands out. It’s a very fun experience to be able to coach a player like Brooke and she makes my job easy. We often go to her sometimes because we want her input in helping the team, and as a leader, and as a senior, and a high-level player, we often involve her in some decisions that we make.”
Brooke decided on WFU because of a combination of factors, including the coaching staff, the campus, and academics. The student athlete is considering a major in Environment and Sustainability.
“COVID[-19] made it a little bit difficult,” said Brooke. “That’s when I was making my decision; when everyone was quarantined, but I got to go down there and kind of phone interview, and then later this fall I got to do an official visit.”
Brooke has one more season to go with LHS. She believes that the team is in great hands, not just with its rising seniors, but also the freshmen and sophomores who have shown great potential.
“It’s really nice to have such a close group,” said Coach Ernst. “Like Brooke said, she’s going to take away the time with her teammates. As a coach, it’s so nice to not only have success on the field but to see the success off of it with all the relationships that they’ve built, and that I think is an important lesson. I want them to be good people on the field and I want them to be good people off the field too.”