By Ray Hamill — Yet another Eureka Logger has committed to play women’s college soccer after graduation, with Brynn Hales this week accepting an offer to play at Southern Oregon University in 2021.
Hales is the third player on this coming fall’s Loggers team to have already received and accepted a scholarship offer to play at the collegiate level after graduation, joining teammates Keylei Carroll, who will play at UC Davis, and Klayre Barres, who has committed to play at Chico State.
The midfielder has been on SOU’s radar since attending a camp there as a sophomore, and made a trip to Ashland shortly before the spring shutdown.
She immediately felt it was the right situation for her.
“I’ve been to Ashland before and I always liked the area,” she said. “And when I went to visit and I met the coach and the team I got a really good vibe.”
Head coach Jennifer Rosenberg, who has built a competitive program in her eight years with the team, told Hales to take her time considering such an important decision, but the Eureka standout knew what her answer was going to be.
“I just know Ashland is where I wanted to be,” she said.
Before taking that next step in her career, however, Hales has some unfinished business to take care of during her senior year at Eureka, where she hopes to win a third league crown in four years, and a little more too.
“I would love to win the NCS,” she said. “I would love to go out with a big win.”
The Loggers certainly appear to have the talent to do so, with a plethora of talent in addition to Carroll, Barres and Hales.
Aquene Tollefson, who also will be a senior this fall, is another player who will be expected to take her talents to the collegiate level.
All four of those Eureka stars, along with close friend Sarah Killfoil of Fortuna, have recently been a part of the NorCal Olympic Development Program, something Hales feels has helped her achieve her goal of playing in college.
It was Tollefson who convinced Hales to try out for the prestigious program.
“She said I could totally play and compete there, and that it was perfect for us and the right level,” Hales said.
It was a decision she did not regret.
“It was super fun,” Hales said. “I love the coaches, they were great, and it was just a great group of talented players who are all super positive.”
Eureka head coach Tommy Learmouth, who has worked with Hales all three seasons she has played for the Loggers, believes she has the talent to succeed at the next level.
“She has shown over the last three years that each year she gets better, and she will do what she can to make the team better,” the coach said. “She’s always up for a new challenge.”
Hales, who anchors the Loggers lineup in midfield, is expected to play a similar role at SOU, but stresses she will be glad to play anywhere they ask.
And Learmouth believes the SOU women are getting a talented dead ball specialist.
“Her greatest attribute is her free kicks, particularly her corner kicks,” the coach said. “I can’t tell you how many assists she provided for us in big games. She just consistently makes the right pass to set us up for success.”
Like many of her teammates, whom she describes as “family” and “super close,” Hales has been limited in her preparations for the upcoming season, but she has been keeping herself busy and staying in shape, including Zoom training sessions with the local travel team, Sequoia FC.
“I’ve been working out a ton and getting fit for the season,” she said, adding however that she does miss seeing her teammates. “I’ve been doing the best I can.”
Hales says she hopes to return to full practice with Sequoia FC within the next couple of weeks.
Hales, who has been playing soccer since she was six, will major in either Kinesiology or pre-Physical Therapy.
Last season, the SOU women finished an impressive 12-6-3 and won their opening NAIA playoff game.
Hales will join a program that has now posted four straight winning seasons.