Running Rebel

Senior forward Brooke Elby's fast-paced style of play has electrified the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team

January 19, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk,
  • Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team forward and co-captain Brooke Elby, left.
Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team forward and… (Raul Roa, Glendale…)

As a child, it took some dabbling in various sports for Brooke Elby to figure out how to best channel her athletic gifts.

"I actually have tried a number of different sports — gymnastics, softball, swimming," says Elby, a senior forward on the Flintridge Prep girls' soccer team. "I found that I was much better when I could run around everywhere because I was a very active child. My parents found that I loved kicking the ball and just running everywhere."

The image of a rambunctious youngster letting loose on the soccer field is an apt metaphor for the way in which Elby still flies from one corner of the field to the other, with a motor that never stops and possesses an extra gear that most defenders can't match.

"It's really nice to see when she cuts and dribbles through three or four players and then shoots," Prep senior forward Alina Okamoto says. "It's fun to watch, definitely."


In the last 12 months alone, her flamboyant, hard-charging and creative interpretation of the forward position has carried the Rebels to their first Prep League title in nine years and Elby to a verbal commitment to play at the University of North Carolina, the most successful NCAA Division I women's program of all time.

Not that Elby's work at Prep (11-3-2, 3-1-1 in league) is finished, by any means. She's already nearly doubled the scoring output of her entire breakout junior campaign with a staggering 22 goals through Tuesday.

"It feels really good," Elby says of her red-hot start to the year, which has seen her register four hat tricks. "I just kind of wanted to go out with a bang because it's my senior year and next year I'll be in college. I wanted to leave with a good mark."

With much soccer left to be played, it's clear that at this pace, Elby may turn in one of the most prolific seasons in area lore before it's all said and done.

"We're all really impressed with her right now," junior Prep forward Arielle Baptiste says. "She's really essential to our team, I would say. She really does carry the team a lot."

With the blazing speed, impeccable footwork and ball handling that allows her to split double-teams and cut a path to the goal from virtually any angle, Elby, who also handles most free kicks for Prep, is often the most versatile and valuable player on the field in any given situation.

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