October 7, 2010

Childhood Passion for Soccer Takes Brook Chang Overseas

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A childhood passion for soccer has taken Cornell junior forward Brook Chang all the way to Turks and Caicos and England, not to mention Ithaca, N.Y.At five years old, junior forward Brook Chang, better known as Twinkle Toes, used to pass around a soccer ball with her dad every chance that she got. Little did she know that her love for the game would eventually lead her to making a positive impact on Cornell University’s varsity women’s soccer team.

As a young girl, Chang was introduced to the sport of soccer by her father.

“Anyone who knows me will answer that my dad is the one who inspired me to play soccer. He has influenced me so much. He grew up playing soccer and his entire side of the family is obsessed about the game,” Chang said. “Over the summer, we all got together and watched the World Cup. Although he introduced me to soccer at a very young age, he never put pressure on me to continue playing.”

With her father’s guiding help, Chang began to play for a local soccer league in Virginia. As her skills continued to progress, she began to compete for a travel team, which allowed her to participate in games all around the east coast. Not only has she been able to travel inside the United States for soccer, but she has also been given the opportunity to travel outside of the country.

Her first abroad experience occurred when she joined a club team. The entire team traveled all the way down to Turks and Caicos, a little island in the Caribbean.

“It was such a rewarding experience because we got to train and play with little kids, as well as relax on a beautiful beach,” Chang said.

Turks and Caicos was not her only abroad experience because at age 13, she traveled to England to play soccer. Although the competition she faced was a couple years older, she enjoyed the challenge.

“It was interesting to get the chance to play against such a different style of soccer. Different countries just have different styles of play. For instance, English soccer teams are definitely more disciplined, play one and two touch soccer, and have a faster game. On the other hand, Brazilian soccer teams are more technical, have crazy moves, and have multiple touches, which is my personal favorite style of play,” Chang said.

Brazil being her favorite style of soccer is evident on the field. Brooke’s fast feet, flashy moves and quick touches on the ball are what have led her teammates to give her the nickname Twinkle Toes.

Being quick is definitely to Brook’s advantage because her position as forward needs to be the quickest and most aggressive on any soccer team.

“Our team at Cornell has an extremely solid backline.  So the other players look to the forwards a lot to produce. When the defense is able to hold shutouts, [we] forwards need to look to score goals,” Chang said.

However, Chang has not always played forward. In her younger days, she was asked to play defense, which was not to her liking.

Chang said, “I was devastated. I would come home and cry because I hated it so much. I have always liked to be in the attack, scoring goals. I knew that defense wasn’t my thing.”

Currently leading the pack with four goals, Chang owns her position as forward. However, she is hungry to improve upon that number. She also wishes to help her team make it to the top half of the Ivies.

Although the turnout of the 2010 season for women’s soccer is still underway, Chang is unsure of her plans to continue playing competitive soccer after college.

“I used to want to play professionally. I am thinking about playing for a semi-pro team this summer, but I haven’t decided yet,” Chang said. “Either way, soccer will always be a huge part of my life”.

Original Author: Taylor Nieman