Following her decorated soccer career at Eastern Regional, Sara Brocious accepted an offer to join Rutgers’ women’s soccer team.
She got her fair share of personal accolades during her time at Eastern, including three-time South Jersey Defensive Player of the Year, three-time First Team All-South Jersey and 2019 Courier-Post Player of the Year.
It’s unlikely anyone familiar with the Brocious game would be surprised to find out her long list of personal awards has continued during her college career: The junior midfielder has been nominated for the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association College Player of the Year award.
“I thought this year was a very good season in certain aspects,” she said. “I felt a lot more confident going forward, combining and making more runs. (Personally) I bonded with my teammates a lot more. We got more comfortable (with one another) as we got another year under our belts.
“Overall, individually, I improved on a lot of things.”
Brocious is happy with her improvements on the field as much as she is off. She said relationships with her teammates blossomed in the time they spent together during the university’s summer break. Brocious mentioned athlete-run captain’s practices as an opportunity to further that relationship in a less formal setting than traditional training camp practice.
“Over the summer we had the captain’s practices for a couple of weeks,” she said. “We got to train together, play together, run together and all lived up together, so even when we weren’t (working out) we spent time together … “
Brocious was fortunate in the level of competition she faced prior to college by playing on star- studded teams at Eastern. One of her college teammates, Riley Tiernan, was a teammate at Eastern and holds the record for most goals in Eastern girls soccer history. She and Brocious were integral parts of the 2018 Group IV State Championship team and played together on the same club soccer team.
Brocious is not the only person in the Rutgers’ women’s soccer program to be nominated as the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association’s College Player of the Year. Tiernan’s sister Madison, an assistant coach, won the award during her time on the Scarlet Knights’ roster.
“I was so honored when I heard I won it. I know so many people that have won it. It felt really good to come back to that banquet, speak, and see people who were in my shoes only a couple of years ago. I was so happy,” said Brocious, who also said her assistant coach has served as a role model for her as a soccer player over the years.
In addition to Tiernan, Brocious said Kenzie Wright, and Amirah Ali were among other Eastern alums to receive the award.
“I have known Madison for a while, we actually live really close to each other (in Voorhees) and I went to her games growing up,” Brocious said. “She’s been a really awesome role model in women’s soccer … I always wanted to compete at the highest level like she did.”
When reflecting back on the 2022 year Brocious’s personal accolades don’t immediately come to mind. She thinks about what went on behind the scenes and teammates of hers who have helped elevate her as an athlete.
“When I think about this year, I think about how hard we worked and how much fun we had together as a team …” she said. “We all got a lot better, improved our relationships on and off the field. It was a competitive year (too), but we know we can go a lot farther.”
In addition to the SJSCA nomination, Brocious received 2022 All-Big Ten Second Team honors and All-Region Scholar Athlete honors.