Belchertown’s Brooke Samborski signs letter of intent to play soccer at UNH

  • Belchertown senior Brooke Samborski, left, and South Hadley freshman Lauren Marjanski battle for control in the second quarter of their 3-3 draw in South Hadley on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 11/17/2020 7:19:48 PM
Modified: 11/17/2020 7:19:35 PM

During her two-and-a-half year search for a college soccer home, Belchertown senior Brooke Samborski paid little attention to New Hampshire. She was looking at institutions like UMass, Syracuse, Boston University and UConn.

“It crossed my mind, but it was never like a priority,” she said.

Then before she went to a national tournament with her FC Stars club team the summer between her sophomore and junior years, New Hampshire coach Steve Welham called. The Wildcats had been keeping tabs on Samborski since she was an eighth grader and wanted to get to know her better as a player and a person. They invited her to the Durham campus for a camp and a tour.

Once she stepped on campus, Samborski was smitten.

“I fell in love with it,” she said. “It’s one of the most beautiful colleges I’ve ever seen.”

The campus is 70 miles from Boston and still close enough to western Massachusetts.

“Wanting to be near a beach is fun. I also like to shop, so that played a factor,” she said. “The location was everything. Once I spoke to the coaches I was set on it.”

She committed on the way home and reaffirmed that commitment Thursday, signing her National Letter of Intent to play for the Wildcats.

“She plays bigger than her size, she’s a leader. She’s not afraid to assert herself in the game through verbal communication or with her play,” Welham said. “She’s a tank, she’s a warrior. She can break pressure with a long service, which is huge in the women’s game. It’s been a lot of fun watching her develop.”

Samborski is joining a New Hampshire team that went 10-8 in 2019 and reached the America East semifinals. The conference shifted its fall sports season to the spring because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

She’s part of a five-player recruiting class, four of whom played for FC Stars. Samborski has been a part of the club since she was 7.

“I knew if I put my heart and soul in the club they were going to return the favor too,” she said.

Since she was so focused on the club, the competitive aspect of soccer and securing a college team, Samborski didn’t play for Belchertown until her junior year, after she’d verbally committed.

“Soccer for me has always been extremely competitive, which I love, don’t get me wrong,” she said. “Going into junior year summer I committed to UNH, and my parents were like go have fun, represent your town.”

It also allowed her to form tighter bonds with girls she’d known for a relatively short time. Samborski joined the Belchertown school system in eighth grade.

“Being at soccer has such a huge social aspect to it,” she said. “Me being a very outgoing person, I bonded with everyone and made really great friends.”

When she joins New Hampshire next season, Samborski should see the field early. She’s a stout defender that has the versatility to play in the center, out wide or in the midfield.

“She has the ability to make an impact right away as a freshman,” Welham said. “She brings a level of toughness and edge to her game that we would love to have.”

They’re getting a player Belchertown coach Kyle Thibault said was a pleasure to have for the time they spent together.

“She leaves it all out on the field. She’s sore even if it didn’t look like it was a lot of bang-bang plays,” Thibault said. “(Defenders) don’t get the credit because they don’t put up the points but they’re the ones denying these powerhouse strikers and midfielders to shut ‘em down.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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