Chelsea Brown grew up as a talented multi-sport athlete, trying her hand at softball, basketball, track and soccer, but once high school started, she knew which sport she wanted to pursue.
“I shortly realized that soccer was my game and that I am at my happiest on the pitch. Soccer allows me to feel free. It is the one place I am able to express my true self and at the moment nothing else matters outside of those lines.”
Once senior year of high school rolled around, Chelsea knew she wanted to make the jump to collegiate soccer.
“At the start of my senior year in high school, I began reaching out to colleges. I was told twice that I was not good enough to play college soccer. At the time it was very discouraging, but I decided to focus on the present.
My team made it to the playoffs and opportunities began to present themselves. During the playoff game an old teammate of mine, Megan Mansur, sent a video of my free kicks to the LSUS coach at the time. The coach gave me the opportunity and as it turns out I was talented enough to play college soccer.”
Fast forward four years and Brown has had a decorated career at LSU Shreveport with 31 goals and 12 assists in 72 matches and looks to further showcase her talents at W League expansion side Rochester FC.
Rochester, Minnesota is roughly 1,300 miles or a 20-hour drive north from Louisiana.
“I’ve never been to Minnesota or stayed months away from my family, but I had this feeling in me telling me to go and step out of my comfort zone. I am blessed to have the opportunity to venture off to Rochester and be a member of the W League.”
February 1 marks the start of Black History Month, a month that has special meaning to Brown.
“Black History Month means a lot to me. As an African American female, it’s empowering to hear, see, and learn about everything we’ve achieved and what we continue to do. It’s a month of celebrating and understanding the meaningful culture we have to offer. The world can be ignorant to diverse cultures which is why Black History Month is important. We learn about the history that teaches us life lessons and gives us hope.”
While Brown didn’t really have a role model when she was growing up, she’s now shifted her mind towards professional sports and how she doesn’t necessarily fit the mold.
“I admire and look up to Jasmyne Spencer and Mallory Pugh Swanson. I am not built like a D1 athlete, I am petite, but watching those players gives me the confidence I need.
My part is to show up every day, work hard, give my all, and do my part. I realize that I do not need to be the biggest on the field and that I can accomplish anything I want. My love and passion for the game make up for what I lack in size.”
Brown strives to set an example and message of excellence and authenticity for young Black girls in sports.
“Do not compare yourself to others, and take rejections as an opportunity to improve. One day, you will meet someone who believes in you and gives you the opportunity to prove others otherwise. When the opportunity comes, work hard, give it your all, be disciplined, and have the heart, that will take you far. It is not all about who you are as an athlete – practice gratitude because you are so much more than your sport.”
As an athlete, Brown draws her inspiration from her family and coaches.
“My main inspiration as an athlete is definitely my family. All that I do in life is for my family. They are my support system, and the ones I turn to when I feel small in this big world.
I want to show my parents how grateful I am for them, their sacrifices and everything else they have done for me, and continue to do. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for their love and belief in me.
My prior and current coaches are inspirations to me as well. During freshman year, Coach Ashley Holland dedicated her time to speaking to me after one practice because I demonstrated self-doubt. We had a heart-to-heart talk and the next day I walked into the locker room and found a note from her, which I still have to this day. The note stated how much she believed in me.
My current coach, Coach Dejan Milosevic, teaches me things every day about soccer and life. He is constantly pushing me to be the best version of myself. Coach Milo has taught me to never change for anyone, to always be open-minded, that growth never stops, and that I am special.”
Brown will represent Rochester FC in the USL W League this season which is set to kick off in May.