Black Futures: Women's soccer captain fosters supportive team dynamic

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Throughout February, George Brown College celebrates Black Futures Month. We're highlighting GBC students, employees and graduates who are making meaningful changes today with an eye on the future. 

Brianna Samuels McLaughlin on the soccer pitch with opposing player

As captain of the George Brown College Huskies varsity women's soccer team, Brianna Samuels-McLaughlin has made impressive achievements, including being twice named an Ontario College Athletics Association (OCAA) All-Star. Brianna's stats are impressive, but it's her fellow players' success and the supportive team dynamic she wants to celebrate. 

A Husky since 2018, Brianna led the women's soccer team to two playoff appearances in 2019 and 2021. In 2018 and 2019, she was named an OCAA All-Star and led her team in scoring. With her great success on the pitch, it's hard to imagine that she didn't consider playing when she first started at George Brown. She was recovering from a torn ACL and subsequent surgery. A meeting with head coach Leslie "Tiger" Fitzpatrick convinced her to ease her way back into competitive play.  

"This team means a lot to me, especially because of my ACL surgery," she said. "It's been amazing joining a group of girls who helped to motivate me and push me to be better and to achieve a goal." 

Brianna said the supportive and close-knit environment she experienced as a new player influenced her leadership style as captain. 

"I can definitely be tough, but it comes from a passionate experience and from wanting to help the school and the team achieve new accomplishments," she said. 

When asked to name highlights of her past four years with the team, Brianna recalls an exciting 2021 crossover playoff game against the Centennial Colts. The team was playing an incredible match, and the game was tied at halftime. Brianna said a player struggling with self-confidence on the field scored the winning goal in the 88th minute. 

"We were always telling her, I know that you may not believe in yourself, but we all believe in you," she said. "That goal was probably the highlight of that season for us." 

Brianna is set to graduate from the Child and Youth Care program this spring. She says the skills she's developed as a supportive leader on the field will transfer well into her new career.  

"I try to dig deeper and figure out what works best, not only for me but for those around me," she said. 

As she prepares to embark on her career, she's aiming to further her education with ASL (American Sign Language) studies and a bachelor's degree.