CdM's Brahs becomes goal-oriented

Coming into the Corona del Mar High girls' soccer program as a freshman, Ally Brahs definitely was going to get on the field.

All Coach Bryan Middleton had to do was look at her size and her ability to know he had a special player.

Some of the best players are ones who have more of a fluid role, ones who can play all over the pitch. That was definitely true for Brahs.

"She was physically gifted enough, even as a freshman, that I played her at defensive midfield and forward throughout the whole season," Middleton said. "She kind of filled in spots as they were needed throughout the season."

This winter Brahs, now a junior, has clearly thrived in an offensive role. She scored a team-high 16 goals for the Sea Kings, whose season ended Thursday with a 1-0 loss to top-seeded San Clemente in a CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinal match.

Yet, Brahs was versatile for the Sea Kings. That's why after she scored in the 48th minute in Tuesday's second-round win over Los Alamitos, Middleton moved her back to a defensive midfielder role. Later in the match, she converted the first penalty kick as CdM won the dramatic shootout, 8-7.

Two days later, Middleton put her in the same defensive midfield spot to mark San Clemente's top playmaker, senior Frannie Coxe. The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, who has played for the Newport Beach-based Slammers Futbol Club for nine years, doesn't mind assignments like these.

"In club, I actually play defense," Brahs said. "It's fun being able to attack and score goals. I feel like I just step up where the team needs me."

Brahs can handle her duties; it's no secret that she is a top-level athlete. She has letters in four different CdM varsity sports, also including lacrosse, track and field (high jump) and basketball. That freshman year, Brahs played varsity basketball and soccer in the same season.

"That was so crazy," she said. "It was ridiculous. I don't know how I did that."

Sticking with soccer has proven to be a wise move. Brahs committed to play at the University of Washington in November after also taking recruiting visits to Harvard, Stanford, Virginia, USC, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine.

The first two schools on that list shouldn't be a surprise, as she also carries a 4.2 weighted grade-point average.

On the field, Brahs uses her smarts. Brahs, CdM junior goalie Sarah Cox (who missed this high school season with an ACL injury) and Mater Dei's Devin Barrett have been playing for the same Slammers team for nearly a decade now. They've won the Surf Cup five times and this past year the girls, now a U17 squad, also won the Coast Soccer Premier League and Cal State Premier League titles. They made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV tournament last June in New Mexico.

Brahs is ranked as the No. 13 player among Southern California juniors by

In high school, she has also helped CdM accomplish big things. The Sea Kings have won Pacific Coast League titles in two of her three years, including the first outright title in Middleton's nine-year tenure this season. She shined this year for the Sea Kings at the forward spot.

"I'd say about 80% of the season, I've had the ability to allow her to play in the forward position," Middleton said. "That's allowed her the opportunity to score more goals for our team, and she scores 'em both ways. She scores them in the run of play and she's also very deadly from set pieces."

Brahs said she doesn't plan on playing varsity lacrosse this spring, deciding to focus instead on club soccer. She returns to Slammers practice next week.

In December, she'll be back to work trying to lead CdM to another league title and a deep CIF run. The Sea Kings have now lost in the quarterfinals three straight years, but Middleton talked after Thursday's loss about keeping the momentum going in future years. Brahs definitely will be a key part of that and a leader next year.

Wake Forest-bound goalie Lindsey Luke and fellow seniors Hannah Rome and Kaylee O'Connor were CdM's three captains this year.

"Next year I could see [Brahs] filling one of those roles," Middleton said.

Not bad for a girl who, when she first started playing sports as a small child, was a figure skater.

"It was too individual," Brahs said. "I just wanted a team sport. I really like the team effort, but at the same time, the ability to individually have success."

It's the best of both worlds, just like Brahs playing offense and defense.


Ally Brahs

Born: Sept. 25, 1993

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 5-foot-8

Sport: Soccer

Coach: Bryan Middleton

Favorite food: Bonzai acai bowls

Favorite movie: "The Shawshank Redemption"

Favorite athletic moment: Helping CdM win the outright Pacific Coast League title this year.

Week in review: Brahs scored CdM's lone regulation goal then converted its first penalty kick as the Sea Kings topped Los Alamitos, 8-7 in penalty kicks, in a CIF Southern Section Division I second-round match Tuesday.

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