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UP CLOSE: Houston Dash defender Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks still plays like her mom instructed her -- like a "bad ass boss" (photo courtesy Houston Dash via ISI Photos)

Following in her mom’s footsteps to be a “bad ass boss” is how NWSL veteran Amber Brooks described where she might see her life going after soccer. Although the time where she needs to decide her next step is very far from now, she’s been fortunate enough to have an incredibly supportive family throughout her soccer career to date, from Chapel Hill, to Germany, and now to Houston. The 27-year old talked to me about her journey with the game and how that not only relates to her skills as a soccer player, but her development into the person she is today.

Hannah Kronick: How did you first get into soccer? Can you take me back to how you first started out in the sport?

Amber Brooks: I started playing when I was four years old. Both of my parents played at the collegiate level. My dad played at Le Moyne College in New York and my mom had a unique opportunity to play at Ashland University in Ohio because they had just passed Title IX and didn’t have a women’s team, so she was allowed to play with the men. I have two older brothers that are 10 and seven years older than me and they both played as well. So, of course, being so much younger and the only girl, all I ever knew growing up was what they did and I wanted to be like them. My mom was actually in charge of the local rec league in my hometown and you weren’t supposed to be able to play until you were five years old, but because she was in charge, she let me start a year early. I was four years old and my oldest brother actually coached the team, he was 14 years old at the time. So it was very informal as he and his best friend were coaching. It all started then.

HK: That’s awesome. It sounds like ever since you can remember, soccer was a family affair. You obviously continued playing throughout your youth, through club and high school, and got to UNC at the collegiate level. What was that journey like to such a historic program?

AB: Ever since I was about seven years old, UNC was the dream.

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