All of us in the North Carolina soccer
family like to relate stories about how our association
with the game began. For some, it all started when our kids
did - and we were
soon hooked. There are others, however, who can trace first
experiences back to a place and surface that might be termed
“humble beginnings.” For them, it wasn’t
about grass fields and high-class equipment, nor scheduled
games and designer jerseys. Instead, they made things up
on the fly, kicking whatever they found for a ball into
whatever passed for a goal. The street was in the game.
As the son of missionaries in Iran, Hall Of Fame honoree
Brien Braswell remembers it that way. He found an early
love for the game, nurtured by the simple experience on
the Tehran playgrounds. And he would take all of that with
him when his family relocated to the United States in the
mid-1970’s, settling in the town of Wake Forest, N.C.
There he joined the Capital Area Soccer League and began
to hone his soccer skills with the 1964 Raleigh Rockets.
High school years would see Brien start with Wake Forest-Rolesville.
He later transferred to Raleigh Ravenscroft where, in the
fall of 1982, he was part of a state championship team under
Coach Ed Yohman. This was good enough for him to gain All-State
and NSCAA All-South recognition and the chance to attend
and play for NAIA representative Guilford College (1983-87).
But his career was cut short by a severe leg injury, and
he turned to coaching.
Braswell’s record in 25 years (and counting) at Jamestown
Ragsdale is a significant part of why he is being honored.
In just his third season, the 1991 boys team won the first
of his three state titles (the others came in 1993 and 1995).
The girls program wasn’t far behind, as the Tigers
captured the very first NCHSAA 1A/2A/3A Championship in
1994, led by the talented sisters Melissa and Siri Mullinix,
the latter a HOF inductee in 2010. Other girls’ titles
would come in 1996, 1999 and 2005.
It is also worth noting that Coach Braswell is the only
soccer coach in NCHSAA history to twice win boys and girls
championships in the same academic year (93-94 and 95-96).
Individual honors include his being named NCSAA Boys COY
in 1993 and Girls COY in 2005 and NSCAA Division II South
Region COY in 2005. He also coached the West All-Star Girls
team in 1997 and was a co-coach in the Clash of the Carolinas
in Charleston this past summer.
Coach Braswell often ends his soccer correspondence with
this quotation from Benjamin Franklin:
“Tell me and I forget, teach
me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Somewhere in the world, on field or street, perhaps far
away, perhaps next door,
a young person is playing soccer with this creed as his
guide. May he be so fortunate as to have someone like Coach
Brien Braswell, 2014 NC Soccer Hall Of Fame inductee, to
show the way.