Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Bama kicks off third season under Bramble


On Aug. 20, the University of Alabama women’s soccer team will kick off its season against Samford at the Capstone. Head coach Todd Bramble will enter his third season in charge of the program, and he expects a big turnaround from last year’s team that won just two conference games.

Bramble’s impact was felt immediately when he took the post in 2008. His first season saw the Crimson Tide with its finest conference record since 1998, the last season the team qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Last year’s squad had its share of struggles in what was a rebuilding year for the program, but it returns some talented experience to help lead a heralded incoming class.

“We have a very exciting, large infusion of talent with many different skill sets,” Bramble said. “We’ve been working extremely hard, and have had the fortune of having our incoming players all summer.”

Bramble’s teams in his first two seasons have been more defensive minded, concerned with staying compact and making sure there is constant pressure on the ball. The 2010 Crimson Tide team has the talent to attack a bit more, and is expected to play a 4-3-3 formation.

“This year we will try to impose our will on our opponents, and will employ more of an all-out attack,” said Bramble. “My philosophy is to always use your team’s talents to their fullest.”

Bramble doesn’t believe in having a set system year in, year out.

“I take things on a year to year basis instead of trying to play players out of position, and not getting the best out of them,” he said.

Bramble will sit down with his team before the season starts to outline more specific goals.

“We hope to finish in the top half of the league, which would put us in position to go to the SEC Tournament, and would give us a great shot at the NCAA Tournament,” said Bramble.

Bramble took Clemson’s team to seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances before he came to Alabama. His teams have been equally outstanding in the classroom, and he has had at least 12 players be named to the SEC Academic Honor Rolls in each of his first two seasons in Tuscaloosa.

“The number one goal with our girls is academics,” he said. “That is why they are here, and we don’t discuss anything else before grades.”

The 2010 team returns some much needed leadership to help the 11 newcomers acclimate to the team. Goalkeeper Justine Bernier, midfielder Rosaly Petriello and forward Brooke Rogers will be counted on mightily.  All three girls are seniors and candidates for the 2010 captaincy, and their expectations are in line with those of Bramble.

Target forward Brooke Rogers has put aside personal goals.

“I may set some goals closer to the season but as long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters,” Rogers said. “As a team, we haven’t decided what we want to accomplish specifically but the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament would be great.”

Goalkeeper Justine Bernier will have a big say in how far this team goes. Bernier has achieved multiple All-SEC accolades at the Capstone, and she wants to leave her mark in her senior season.

“Personally, I go into every game hoping to keep a clean sheet,” she said. “My dad always tells me to just go out there and give your team a chance to win.”

Midfielder Rosaly Petriello is one of the creative forces within this team. She will be adjusting to more of a defensive role in the midfield this year but will still have the opportunity to lead the attack.

“I love to be the playmaker, to set the other girls up for chances on goal,” Petriello said. “We need to be on the same page as a team to create that winning mentality.”

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