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Coach Brabson kicks around his life story on the soccer field

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

Current profession?

Associate head coach for the women’s soccer team at Winthrop University Rock Hill, SC. I also assist in daily activities, recruiting, travel arrangements and student-athlete academic affairs.

Alma Mater?

Maryville College with a degree in business and organizational management.

Where are you from?

I was born (1976) in Knoxville, TN and grew up there.

Did you grow up playing soccer?

I grew up playing all types of sports but stumbled upon soccer. We lived in a neighborhood where kids were always outside playing one sport or another. Soccer was one of them!

What was your family upbringing like?

I was raised in an environment where sports were always a part of my life; I have loved sports for as long as I can remember. My parents played collegiate basketball and then my sister followed in their footsteps to play collegiate basketball. My sister, Jennifer, now lives in Charlotte with her husband and three boys. She coaches a youth basketball team that her son and my daughter play on. Coaching is definitely in the family!

Tell about your college experience:

I attended Maryville College with the intention of continuing onto law school. I changed my mind about law school when I learned about the structure of the program- it didn't work for me. Maryville College is a place that I love deeply as it challenged me as a student, athlete, and a person. One of my greatest academic achievements was my graduate thesis: “Do minorities need special skills or traits to become upper level managers?”

Did you play soccer in college?

During college and few years afterwards, I had the chance to play on a semiprofessional soccer team. While at Maryville, I was a four-year starter and team captain. I also played on a professional team in Nashville.

When did you move to North Carolina?

I came to Charlotte in 1998 as a graduate assistant soccer coach at Queens University of Charlotte.

Any highlights while you were coaching at Queens University?

I spent six seasons as the head coach and two years as an assistant coach of the Queens University of Charlotte women’s soccer team. In my two seasons as head coach, Queens went a combined 15-19-2 and 10-14-1 in the CVAC Conference. But my favorite highlight was meeting my wife, Tara, of 13 years through a mutual friend while coaching at Queens.

Family stats?

We have two kids and don’t have any plans for more! Our son Jake (11) is in fifth grade and our daughter Macie (6) is in first grade. And yes, they both play soccer!

What do you do during the offseason?

Much of the summer involves coaching at soccer camps around the Carolinas and Georgia. We have a summer soccer camp for boys and girls at Winthrop University. Our camps are structured to provide kids an opportunity to work on their skills during the summer- to prepare them for the fall season. Our camp invites all types of players. I have enjoyed coaching kids of all abilities, such as those who have gone on to play Division I NCAA Soccer to kids who are playing soccer for the first time. The Winthrop Soccer camps are also about making new friends through the game. The best part of my job is working with kids and showing them the beauty of the game.

On and off the field, where has soccer taken you?

Soccer has been such an important part of my life to say the least. The love of the game-as well as coaching- has altered the course of my career and life experiences. In addition to traveling to Europe, I have coached games in Hawaii. While in Hawaii, I learned to surf and fell in love immediately when I got on the board. Although I have not been surfing since, I can still remember the feeling of being on top of the wave. The experience was very similar to winning an important soccer game.

As a coach, you need to exemplify fitness. How do you stay in shape?

I am an avid runner and workout enthusiast! I have completed three marathons- I am still working towards the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. If you take care of your body, you take care of your mind.

Three marathons! That is impressive!

Like I said, I love running! I ran in the Charlotte Observer Marathon in 2004, the Knoxville Marathon in 2011, and in the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon in 2013. I won my age group at the Savannah Bridge Run 10k in 2012.

You are quite the athlete. Any other sports won you over?

I also love to golf: two of my favorite courses are Charlotte National and The Divide. Although I am terrible at best, I am always trying to find ways to get onto the golf course. It helps that my son has fallen in love with the game too. Living in the Matthews area gives me access to five courses (within a 10-mile radius) that I am always sneaking out to play.

What motivates you?

The excitement of success is what motivates me! I do not fear failure because you only fail when you quit trying.

What do you love about Charlotte and the surrounding communities?

There are so many great places to run here. I love running in the McMullen Creek, Ballantyne, Myers Park and Matthews communities. The proximity to the beach and the mountains also makes the Carolinas an ideal place.

Any favorite vacation spots in the Carolinas?

We spend time every summer in Hilton Head Island, SC and love to visit Asheville.

Charlotte/Matthews has been great to me and my family since 1998. I could not imagine living anywhere else. Although, I wouldn’t mind retiring in a place where I could begin each day surfing, then run, and end on a golf course.



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