Sobrato High senior Chloe Brown was a stalwart defender on the backline for the Bulldogs girls’ soccer team since stepping on the pitch for the first time as a freshman. (contributed)

Sobrato High soccer star Chloe Brown officially committed to play at the next level after signing an NCAA Division I National Letter of Intent to play in college at Pepperdine University this coming fall.

The standout senior defender has competed on the Bulldogs’ girls varsity squad since her freshman year, playing a crucial role on the back line.

“Playing at Sobrato was always fun because I was able to make new connections with the girls on the team and try positions that I didn’t get to play in club,” Brown said. “Playing varsity freshman year was a really special experience because I was able to play with seniors and juniors who I looked up to. The Freeman triplets [Ashley, Hailey, Taylor] were seniors and went out of their way to include me and make me feel like I was truly a part of the group.”

When she was a sophomore, coach Miguel Gutierrez noted Brown’s value by complimenting her “tremendous speed” and how she can step up and join the attack when needed. 

In her junior year, coach Marcelo Mariaca described Brown as being the “anchor” of the backline at her center back position. 

As with many sports, club programs are a crucial component of one’s development. Brown has excelled at the Elite Clubs National League, a high-end national youth soccer developmental league in the United States

De Anza Force U19 ECNL head coach Joe O’Hehir said Brown is one of the most tenacious and feared defenders in a very competitive Northern Cal ECNL Girls conference. 

“Week in and week out, Chloe showcases that she is a very special athlete who is powerful, strong and fast, locking down every top forward in the league,” O’Hehir said. “She is also versatile and has scored some key goals this season for us as a striker. Her ability to separate and get behind our opposition, as well as her work rate to press makes her an inspiring team leader.”

Brown looked back on her Sobrato career and cited the teamwork and spending time together with teammates, including rides to and from games. Her favorite game highlight was scoring a goal against Leland from way out of the 18-foot area to tie the score at 3-3 in the last minutes.

Brown chose to graduate early in December 2023. She will devote time to training and working before attending Pepperdine in Malibu in the fall of 2024. 

The Waves finished second in the West Coast Conference in 2023 and advanced into the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament to face No. 2 seed Stanford—the eventual national runner-up.

Pepperdine earned their 13th all-time playoff bid and it has reached the Sweet Sixteen four times, including a trip in 2021. 

“After visiting Pepperdine and meeting the staff I knew I found my place for the next four years,” Brown said. “With Pepperdine being one of my dream schools I had a lot of high expectations and they were all exceeded. Something I didn’t anticipate was the warm and welcoming community and the support from the coaches and team. That was the main factor of my decision and made me excited for the future.”

Brown first started playing soccer at around 4 years old with Morgan Hill’s Orchard Valley Youth Soccer League recreational team. Inspiration came from three older brothers who played soccer and a father who coached and played.

“I would watch their games on the sideline and beg my parents to let me play,” Brown said. “I’ve always loved the competitive aspect of soccer and the chance to push myself to the limit, athletically and mentally. I think my favorite part about soccer has been the team and the relationships I’ve made through it.”

Brown will report to Pepperdine on July 1 to begin training with the team and will concurrently take summer school classes.

“Chloe is a leader by example, making those around her rise up,” O’Hehir said. “Pepperdine is very lucky to have her next year, and I am looking forward to watching her bright future develop both on and off the field.”

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