By Amanda Parrish, Staff Writer
A new head coach took the helm of the Lady Bulldogs soccer team this year after a surprise resignation.
Isaac Brooks, who received the position this semester, is no stranger to the school. Having graduated from Union in 2002 and recently completing his master’s degree, Brooks has become familiar with the territory.
Brooks returned six years ago to become assistant coach for the Lady Bulldogs after playing for the university during his time as an undergraduate.
“When we look for coaches, we’re looking for outstanding coaches who understand the mission of Union,” said Tommy Sadler, director of athletics. “What we’re about is not only the sport but the spiritual aspect, the mental aspect, the academic aspect, and we want our coaches to buy into the total mission of the university.”
Years of experience as assistant coach, as well as his own love of playing the game, made Brooks a good candidate for the coaching position when former head coach Brandon Boylan announced his resignation at the beginning of the semester.
Brooks has shown he understands the university’s mission, and players respect him, Sadler said.
“Everyone’s really excited for Isaac to be the new head coach,” said Megan Jay, freshman nursing major and defender for the Lady Bulldogs. “He’s intentional about the fact that we’re here to glorify God and that whereas some people can sing, and that is their form of worship, we’re athletically gifted, and our worship is when we step onto the field.”
Brooks developed this kind of focus and intentionality throughout his life, from roles that range to an intramural coach to working in a church as an intern. The experiences in those positions prepared him to be a soccer coach at Union.
If a coach stormed up and down the sidelines yelling at referees, Brooks said the players would, too. The observation made an indelible imprint on Brooks’ coaching style and the type of role model he needs to be.
“The best way to get a team to be Christ-centered and play for God is to be a coach that is focused on that,” Brooks said. “If I’m focused on God, I’m hoping that’s what they’re going to do.”
Brooks said he hopes to continue to grow a team environment where God can be glorified. Instilling the idea of playing well and loving God as being present both on and off the field, Brooks said the focus will be twofold.
“We’re going to go out there and we’re going to play hard,” he said.
“If you’re truly a Christian and you’re playing for God, then you’re going to go out there and work hard and prepare as much as you can, and a byproduct of that will be winning,” Brooks said.