Brett making an impact for CUA on and off the field

Caitlin Brett has been interested in politics for as long as she can remember.  “It seemed as though anytime we had a family gathering, there would be a political discussion and I always found it interesting,” explains the senior, who has five uncles that served in the armed forces.

“I knew I wanted to work in the field and when I began researching colleges, CUA was right at the top of my list because of its location in the political center of the world.”

Brett’s interest in politics led her to a once-in-a-lifetime experience last spring when she studied abroad in Ireland.  “I went through a program that CUA offers and was placed with another girl from the university.  We were there for 16 weeks and I absolutely loved it.  I definitely want to go back at some point.”

While in Ireland, Brett caught an inside glimpse at the dynamic of the country’s politics, which as she describes, are quite different than what Americans are used to.  “The discussions are very intense, with lots of shouting and even obscenities.”

She continued, “One of the things we did while there was go door-to-door seeking votes for the TDs, who are members of the Parliament.  We also got a chance to see the President of Ireland, which was very cool.”

Upon returning to the states, Brett didn’t stop pursuing her passion of working in politics.  She’s currently working three days a week at another internship, this one with the Veteran Affairs Committee.  It’s quite a commitment for a student-athlete during their competitive season, but one Brett is willing to make.  “I know that it’s going to help me down the road, but I really enjoy it, too.”

With so much time dedicated to her future field of work, it may be surprising to learn just how successful a soccer player Brett is.  A 2010 First Team All-Landmark Conference selection, Brett started six games as a freshman, and has been an integral part of Head Coach JP Sousa’s lineup for the past four years.

“We knew coming in that Caitlin was athletic and would be able to deal with the demands of a physical style of soccer in college.  But she’s exceeded our own expectations and really developed as a player and as a leader.”

He continues, “Caitlin is a very smart player; when we need a big play, she’s able to get it done for us.  I’d say she really came into her own in 2009 when we won the conference championship.  She has a unique ability to say the right thing at the right time, and she does it in a way that is very impressive for someone her age.  She’s levelheaded and connects with her teammates.  When Caitlin speaks, everyone listens.”

Brett, who describes winning that 2009 title as “awesome,” saw to it that her senior season would turn out differently than 2010 when the Cardinals suffered through a difficult year.

“Last year was not ideal for us,” she says.  “I wanted to instill a positive attitude and along with the other seniors, I think we’ve been able to do that.  Our class is very tight; we’ve gone through the highs and the lows and I think each of us deserves credit for what we’ve accomplished.”

She adds, “We all have different leadership styles and everyone on the team has really bought into the team concept.  The girls knew we had to come into preseason camp in shape this year and it was evident from day one that all of us had put in a lot of work over the summer.”

Sousa credits his lone senior captain with holding the team together last spring, despite being over 3,300 miles away from campus.  “I know it was tough for Caitlin to be away last spring coming off the season we had, but she went out of her way to remain in touch with the coaching staff and her teammates.”

He continued, “She took more responsibility upon herself and really set the tone for this current season.  She had a vested interest in seeing the team succeed and all of the girls on the team were aware of that.  As soon as Caitlin got back to the United States, she drove to Washington and made it out to our last practice of the spring, which was pretty neat to see.  I know the girls on the team were excited about that.”

Brett says that growing up she always wanted to be like her older sister, Meghan, who graduated first in her high school class and went on to play soccer at Rider University.  “Seeing how successful she was drove me to do the same,” Brett explains.  “I always wanted to be like her, she’s my role model.”

Safe to say Brett has done just fine in living up to those lofty expectations.  She’s a multi-year member of the Dean’s List and Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll and carries a GPA well above 3.0.

“Caitlin makes it easy to believe in our program because of what she stands for,” Sousa says.  “She exemplifies everything that we want out of our student-athletes on and off the field.  When she meets with recruits, each of those qualities comes through because she’s lived it first-hand.”

With her senior season half over, Brett looks back on her time at CUA and says she’ll miss the little things most of all about her time in college.  “Things like going to the training room and seeing all of the athletes, I know I’ll miss that.  Come next August, I’ll definitely miss playing soccer.”

She concludes, “I’ve learned a lot during my time here.  Working together and putting aside your differences can make such a big impact on the outcome of things.  And if you work hard at it, the outcome is going to be positive.”

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