Berry-White's Braves Among National Elite
Think about these numbers for a minute: 73 wins, 5 losses, and 3 ties. Of the 73 wins, 46 have come by way of a shutout. Now add in three County Championships, two Conference Championships (the conference is only in its second year of existence), two State Finalist appearances, one State Championship, and one National Championship. It is hard to fathom, but this is the run-down of Coach Angela Berry-White’s first four seasons at Brebeuf Jesuit and her career as a head coach.
Being exceptional is nothing new for Berry-White. She received All-State honors in four different sports while attending North Central High School, en route to being named Marion County Athlete of the Year. She earned All American honors three times while playing collegiately at George Mason University whom she helped to a Final Four appearance. She also played on the US National team with the likes of Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy. In 2007, she became the first female player inducted into the Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame.
Before coming to Brebeuf, Berry-White coached for both Butler and Indiana. She gained valuable youth coaching experience by working with the Carmel United Soccer Club. After taking a few years off, friends suggested she should explore coaching at the high school level. The relaxed schedule (compared to club soccer) was a plus, but the main draw was the opportunity to help develop high school girls into strong young women. She knew Brebeuf was a quality program with smart, dedicated players. When the position became available, Berry-White put her name in the hat. The rest is turning out to be history.
In her first year, the Braves started 22-0 before falling in the Regionals. The following year would end with a 22-2-1 record, an IHSAA State Championship, and a MaxPreps National Championship. The Braves would again go 22-2-1 in 2016, this time losing in the State Championship. So far this year, they are 7-0-1. They have won the County Championship each of White’s first three years and are hoping to do so again at the end of the month. They have also claimed every Circle City Conference Championship.
White points to two reasons for her current success: the coaches she played for and coached under and the young women she gets to work with every day. She learned toughness and aggressiveness while playing boys travel ball with Dynamo FC and the Indianapolis Saints as a child. Her coaches at North Central helped model how to develop youth players from different programs into a cohesive unit. Her collegiate and national team mentors taught higher level concepts and the importance of a holistic approach to both preparation and execution.
White is also quick to credit the young women she has gotten to work with at Brebeuf Jesuit. Although they come from a wide array of different clubs and programs, they quickly embrace the Brebeuf way of doing things. “Our girls need to be open, not one-dimensional. We play a different style. In order for it to be effective, the players must ‘buy-in,’” Berry-White stated. She loves how the players do just that, believing both in the coaches and their teammates. The results have been hard to argue with, both as a team and for the individual players. Braves are currently playing at Michigan, Wake Forest, Robert Morris, and DePauw. The current roster also has players committed to Arizona, Dayton, and St. Louis.
This season has seen the development of five particularly strong leaders. Goalkeeper Reni Osuntokun has only given up five goals in eight games while playing one of (if not the) toughest schedules in the nation. Hallie Pearson leads the team in both goals (6) and assists (9). Alexa Hall and Kayla Fitts have combined for six goals and eight assists as well. On the other end of the field, Jordan Smith has been helping to keep the clean sheets coming. While their production has been solid, Berry-White credits these senior captains with embracing their roles as mentors to the younger players and for serving as models of hard-work and selfless play. Watching this development and tracking her team’s progress from game-to-game have been the most satisfying aspects of this season for the coach.
Berry-White’s leadership extends beyond the pitch. Her teams are asked to walk-the-walk of being servant-leaders. “The work that she, her staff, and the girls have done with Special Olympics and raising money for the American Cancer Society is a testament to the team’s commitment to servant leadership; putting into action the mission of Brebeuf Jesuit to develop men and women in service to others,” stated Ted Hampton, Brebeuf Jesuit’s Athletic Director.
Just pass the midway point of the regular season, there are some very tough tasks ahead. The Braves will host both Carroll and Crown Point this Saturday. On Monday, the Cathedral Irish will come calling as a Senior Night opponent. A match with Roncalli will end conference play on Tuesday, and local powerhouses Fishers and Westfield will round out the regular season. This will be followed by the Marion County Tournament and one of the toughest Sectionals in any sport in the history of the IHSAA. Three of the top five and four of the top ten teams in the state will all go head-to-head simply for the right to move on to the Regionals.
Regardless of the outcomes over the next few weeks, there is no arguing Coach Angela Berry-White has helped mold Brebeuf Jesuit’s Girls Soccer program into one of the best in the country. “Brebeuf’s Girls Soccer program has always been strong, but Coach Berry-White has taken it to a new level in four short years. Her coaching and playing experience at the collegiate level, attention to detail, competitive drive, and ability to motivate and communicate with student-athletes is unprecedented,” said Hampton. Hard to argue or add much to those sentiments.