Former Terrier Star Casey Brown Has 6-2 League Record in First Season as BU Women’s Soccer Head Coach
2019 Patriot League Coach of the Year has returned to her alma mater and immediate success
Casey Brown says she came “pretty close” to playing Division I basketball in college. Recruited for hoops, Brown instead built one of the most accomplished soccer careers in BU Athletics history.
Now she is back, this time as head coach. Going into the team’s final Patriot League match today, the Terriers are 6-2, with five wins in October, one against then No. 25 Harvard on October 4.
A multisport athlete out of nearby Natick High School, Brown (CGS’08, COM’10) committed to play soccer at Boston University, where she would lead the Terriers to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and three America East titles. She earned America East Defender of the Year three times, the only woman to do so at one position.
Brown still made time to play basketball in her free time, forming an intramural team when the soccer squad wasn’t out playing in NCAA Tournaments.
“I used to joke with Nancy Feldman, former BU women’s soccer head coach, ‘Yo, can I get a chance to go shoot around and play with the BU basketball team?’” Brown says. “I got a ‘No’ on that.”
After graduating from BU in 2010, Brown went on to a professional soccer career with the Boston Breakers, a National Women’s Soccer League team that folded in 2018, and then returned to Nickerson Field three years later to coach under Feldman, from 2013 to 2015, helping claim three Patriot League titles. Brown’s winning record earned her the head coaching job at Holy Cross, where she was named 2019 Patriot League Coach of the Year.
Her second homecoming came this year (after a brief stint coaching at the University of Pennsylvania), as she returned to BU as the second head coach in BU women’s soccer history (Feldman retired last spring after 27 years as coach), a job she is extremely proud to have.
“I just can’t state enough how grateful I am to be a Terrier and be a part of this program,” Brown says. “I didn’t go in with too many expectations. I really tried to just really immerse myself within the group, the players, and get to know them as people, and to help just get the best out of them.”
Brown prides herself on being a “relationship-based coach,” putting essential emphasis on getting to know her players and building trust. “We do daily check-ins on them to get an understanding of where they are mentally, physically, nutritionally, hydrationally—that’s investing in them,” she says.
Captain Ashley Buck (SHA’23) says Brown listens to her players, and their needs, and she has created a fun and motivational practice environment. “I think she has done a really good job of reading this team and understanding people on a level that gets us motivated,” Buck says. “That has been shown in our success. She has pushed on that spirit, grind, and grittiness to get results, pressing the right buttons and being in control of getting that emotional and playing response out of us.”
Captain Amy Thompson (CAS’23) echoes that support, which she also feels from Brown. “Her energy and her belief in us translates to our belief in ourselves,” Thompson says. “We want to win the Patriot League, and I think with everyone’s drive, commitment, and determination, we are going to do it.”
Buck notes her coach’s attention to the 10 seniors on the 2022-2023 squad. Although Brown looks ahead to the Terriers’ future, Buck says, she is committed to all of her players.
“She has been super intentional in getting to know the older players who she may not have a long time with,” she says. “She is really intentional in the relationships, and I think that’s something that really stands out about Coach Brown—I’ll have a friend after I graduate, and a coach and a mentor—somebody to look up to and continue to stay in contact with even when I’m done playing.”
The Terriers began the season 3-5 in preconference play, with a loss to Boston College at the September 4 Terrier Tailgate, their third loss at Nickerson Field in four contests, and they are currently 10-7 overall.
“We had a really tough nonconference schedule that was purposeful in playing some teams that are well-known, strong programs,” Buck says. “And I think that we just took every game like a learning opportunity and a way to get better.”
“I think it’s gone really well so far,” Brown says. “We’ve just been trying to get better every single game and grow within matches and training weeks. The girls have been amazing, training with such intensity, purpose, and an openness to learn and get better.”
In the eight seasons Brown has been a part of Boston University—playing from 2006 to 2009 and coaching from 2013 to 2015 and now in 2022—the Terriers are 55-7-5 in conference play.
Sitting above the coach’s desk at BU is an aerial photo of the 1999 Rose Bowl, when the US Women’s National Team won the World Cup. For an 11-year-old Casey Brown, this moment taught her to follow her athletic dreams, something she wants to instill in the next generation.
“I’m just such an advocate for youth sport, youth soccer, and trying to keep girls in the game, girls in sport,” Brown says. “We want to continue to foster positive and empowering environments. And even though I’m at the Division One collegiate level, I still like to think, as much as I push these girls, that they have fun, that it’s positive, and that it’s empowering as well.”
Despite advances in women’s sports, she does not countenance complacency.
“A new era of women’s sports is upon us, and it’s been amazing to see the growth and the trajectory, but we want to continue that,” Brown says. “We want more in terms of equality and opportunity and levels of professionalism within our highest ranks.”