There’ve been a lot of goals throughout Brooke Beam’s soccer career. In fact, at Indian River High School alone, there’ve been around 79 of them, even before the start of her senior season.
But while a lot of those goals have certainly been memorable — including that game-winner in the 80th minute against Sussex Tech, or the equalizer in the DIAA State Championship just last spring — they’ve all been leading up to Beam’s ultimate goal of playing Division I soccer.
That’s a goal she’s had since her early days at River Soccer, when she was breaking furniture while kicking the ball around in the living room — a goal that, last Thursday, in front of all of the friends, family, coaches and teammates that have been there along the way, she finally made official by signing with the University of Richmond.
“Richmond is getting an exciting attacking player that’s got great technical skills,” said Steve Kilby, who’s coached Beam at River Soccer and throughout her career at Indian River. “Her development here, in my opinion, has been her understanding within the game. She’s a complete player. She creates a lot of opportunities for players around her, and she can become the focal point of an opponent’s defensive efforts.”
Beam’s talents on the soccer field have long been noted by Kilby, along with all of those defenses that have made her the focal point of their efforts, evident from the DIAA All-State and All-Conference honors she’s earned, going all the way back to her freshman campaign. But where those talents would lead her wasn’t so evident until this past August. In fact, before a late visit to Richmond at the end of July, Beam had her sights set somewhere else.
“It was just a two-day ID clinic at the end of the summer,” she explained. “I thought I was definitely going to go [to a different school], but I went down to Richmond to check it out.”
Not only had Richmond decided on Beam after getting to see her play in person, but after visiting, Beam was decided on Richmond, too, when they called just a few days later with an offer.
“It’s a smaller-size school, but their academics are top-notch,” Beam said of her change of heart and ultimate decision. “Their coaches are really great, and the team was really welcoming. It just seemed like it was a program I wanted to be a part of. It was right for me.”
After getting to experience the school, committing may have been an easy call, but even with all of her natural ability, the road to Richmond has still involved its fair share of hard work. In addition to playing for the Indians, there have been travel teams, club teams, tournaments, showcases and even international trips to Europe to push her game to the next level.
Most notably, she’s been traveling north year-round to play for premiere-level club FC Philadelphia, all the while training at the River Soccer complex on her “off-days.”
To anyone else, that might seem like a lot of soccer. But, to Beam, that’s just the way it’s always been.
“It’s just [always] been there. It’s just something I love,” she said of her dedication to the game. “It’s just fun. When I was younger, I would always go out in the back yard and play, either by myself or with my dad or my sister. I would play in the living room all the time — I would be kicking the ball against the couch all the time. I would use both feet, actually. That’s why [now] I can use both feet evenly.”
“We used to break stuff in the living room,” said Beam’s father, Mark Beam, with a laugh. “We would move all the furniture out of the way.”
There is, of course, such a thing as too much soccer — even for players like Brooke Beam. Despite her love for the sport, Beam emphasized the importance of keeping other interests when asked what her advice for younger players with similar goals would be.
“I would say don’t burn yourself out with it. When I was younger, I would play a lot because I loved it, but I didn’t start going to two-hour training sessions away from home until I was probably 16 or 17,” she said. “Keep involvement with other things that you like, too, instead of just one thing. Don’t limit yourself.”
That’s what she’s aiming to carry on at college, when — in addition to continuing to put her main focus on her academics as biology major — she’ll also look to minor in art, one of her long-time non-soccer interests.
This spring, Beam still has some business to take care of, when she and the Indians aim bring home the school’s first-ever state title for girls’ soccer, and when Beam will have a chance to eclipse the 100-goal mark in her high school career. And after that, there’ll be a whole new set of goals on the list — the first one being getting on the field for the Spiders as soon as possible and helping a young squad in any way that she can.
“Wherever the coach wants me to play, that’s where I’ll be,” Beam said.