By Clellie Allen with David Allen
WAKE FOREST — Brien Braswell, son of longtime Wake Forest residents George and Margaret Braswell, was inducted into the N.C. Soccer Hall of Fame, Saturday, as one of the three members of the class of 2014.
Brien was an all-state high school goalkeeper at Wake Forest-Rolesville (WF-R) High School before transferring to Ravenscroft School in Raleigh. He also played at the college level at Guilford College.
David Anderson, one of Brien’s high school classmates and soccer teammates at WF-R remembers him as a solid athlete.
“I knew Brian since I was 10 years old — he was an outstanding goalie,” Anderson said. “He was always the go-getter, the guy who was fun to play with and played hard every game. He was fun to be around on and off the field.”
Brien’s dad said he gravitated toward soccer at an early age.
“We moved to Iran in 1968 when Brian was just 3. He learned to play soccer at about 3-and-a-half with Iranian kids out in the neighborhood streets. They would set up two rocks for the goals and a little plastic ball for soccer. That was the beginning for him,” he said.
But Brien’s favorite memory comes a little later, after the family moved to Wake Forest.
“I remember when we were here (in Wake Forest) on furlough, and I had met some people, like Mark Sullivan who was my best friend,” Brien said.
“So when we came back permanently in 1973, there was already a little soccer team that had been started. When I later came out to the playground, Mark, who had met me while I was on furlough, wanted me on his team and he wanted me on the Cougars (CASL) in ’74. So I appreciate that from Mark and we played together for the rest of our lives through high school.
“I had always played with kids older than me like Mark and Cam McCamy, and it was so nice to be accepted by Mark and Cam here in Wake Forest after being overseas for so long. That is my fondest memory growing up,” Brien added.
He has been the boys and girls soccer coach at Ragsdale High for 25 years and has led his teams to seven state championships, three for the boys and four for the girls.
His past accolades include National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) coach of the year in 1993 and 2005 as well as the NSCAA all-south region coach of the year in 2005.
The N.C. Soccer Hall of Fame was established in 1996 to promote and support the game of soccer in the state as well as to recognize and honor those who have made a significant contribution to soccer.
Four members of the N.C. Soccer Hall of fame, Hank Steinbrecher, Carla Overbeck, Anson Dorrance and Mia Hamm, are also members of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.