Soccer player

Footballer Benet Brinkley Douglas commits to Richmond

Benet’s Brinkley Douglas frequently hears the question.

Is it named after historian Douglas Brinkley?

“That’s a really good question,” Douglas said. “It’s just a funny coincidence.”

But Douglas is named after a famous person: model Christie Brinkley.

“My mom always loved her and the name Brinkley,” Douglas said. “And my parents’ names are Brian and Kelly, so mix them up, and it’s coincidentally Brinkley. That’s a pretty rare name.

Indeed, Douglas does not know of any other person named Brinkley. And soon, she’ll be attending a college that’s no stranger to uniqueness.

Douglas, a senior midfielder, has signed up to play at Richmond, which is the only college in the country whose sports teams are nicknamed the Spiders. She said she was thrilled to have the chance to play Division I football and embraced the nickname.

“I think it’s fun, but some people think it’s a scary mascot,” Douglas said. “The mascot itself at basketball games is a bit scary, but the logo is very cool.”

Douglas has been a cool presence in defensive midfield for the Redwings for the past two seasons. She had two goals and seven assists in the spring to help Benet (22-5) finish second in Class 2A.

Douglas is the second Benet player in his class to commit to a Division I program, joining Middle Tennessee State rookie Sadie Sterbenz. She will be the fourth player on Benet’s team in 2022 to play at the Division I or II level – recent graduates Mariana Pinto (Lewis) and Katie Lewellyan (West Florida) are the others – and the least heralded of them. they.

“A lot of what Brinkley does for our team isn’t the kind of stuff you’re going to find on a stat sheet or a box score or in a news report, just because of the position she’s playing” , Benet coach Gerard told Oconer. “She was kind of the glue that held things together.

“We don’t have the kind of success we’ve had the last two seasons without a player like Brinkley to step up.”

Physical on the ball and in the air, Douglas is the bridge between defense and attack, able to win balls and then distribute them to attackers.

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“I’m physical, but getting stronger over the next year will help,” Douglas said. “I also think I’m a good communicator, so that will translate well to the next level, being able to command the team.”

Oconer was impressed with Douglas’ sunny personality as much as his footballing abilities. The Redwings have lost just six of 46 games over the past two seasons, but Douglas shines even when the results are murky.

“She’s the most positive person you’ll ever meet,” Oconer said. “It’s hard to find her without seeing a smile on her face, and I think that really helps the dynamic of our team a lot.

“When you see a player like Brinkley, who works as hard as she does and is as talented as her, beaming with positivity, you can’t help but have that rubbing off on everyone. Even when she’s having a bad day or her teammates are having a bad day, she always has a way to cheer everyone up.

Douglas does it off the field too. The National Honor Society member is president of the Benet chapter of the Best Buddies club, which fosters friendships between Benet students and children with special needs.

“I’ve always had a passion for it,” Douglas said. “I was heavily involved in this program at my college, and at Benet, someone had the idea of ​​starting a club, and I helped get it started. It’s really cool.”

Matt Le Cren is a freelance writer for the Naperville Sun.