Two Lady Brahmans to play soccer in college

Brook O’Hagan (left) and Denise Garcia (right) hold trophies awarded to them at the OHS Lady Brahmans soccer banquet.

 

Two 2018 Okeechobee High School graduates and teammates on the Lady Brahmans soccer team have accepted offers to continue their education and soccer career at the collegiate level.

Brook O’Hagan has accepted a scholarship to play at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif., and Denise Garcia has accepted a scholarship to play at John Wood College in Quincy, Ill.
Both players were part of the 2016-17 girls soccer team that secured the best record in school history. Head coach Eric Swant is proud of his two former players but admits it’s going to be hard to replace them.

“They were the two constants on all the teams I have been associated with in Okeechobee since I started,” said Swant. “Going to be so hard to replace them. There is no doubt they will both do well at the next level as they start their college careers. They are the first two scholarships we have gotten in girls soccer in recent memory, if not ever.”

The pair have been friends since they met in the first grade, where they would play soccer together at recess. Once middle school began, the two young ladies joined the soccer team as well as the basketball team.

“We helped each other throughout the years and always pushed one another,” explained O’Hagan. “I’m glad she was my right back for four years and has had my back for more than 10 years.”
Garcia echoed that sentiment, and also noted the coincidence of both players moving to different cities that share the name Quincy.

“Brook has always been playing some kind of sport with me since middle school,” said Garcia. “It has been an amazing ride with her. We both had mentioned that we wanted to play college ball ever since we started soccer, and we finally made it. I couldn’t have done it without her, either. We are both playing in different cities named Quincy, which I think is pretty funny. I hope she succeeds in her college goalkeeping, and I wish her nothing but the best.”

Swant says getting access to video hosting service Hudl this year was crucial in getting scholarship offers for players. Hudl offers the tools to edit and share video, interact with stats, and create quality highlight reels for recruiting purposes online. The Lady Brahmans were able to afford the service this year due to support from their sponsors.

Both players gave credit to coach Swant for helping them, on and off the field.

“I couldn’t thank him enough for the work and time he has put in for our team the past four years,” said Garcia. “He never gave up on us, and now we are going to the next level because of him.”

The leadership on the Lady Brahmans soccer team will now fall to the underclassmen on the team. Leading scorers Janel Aponte, Ashton English and Alani Garcia all seem capable and ready to lead next year’s team as Okeechobee attempts to secure a playoff spot in the tough 4A District 13.

“All I want to say to my younger teammates and any other younger female athletes is that even when you think you can’t, you absolutely can,” said O’Hagan. “Don’t let anything hold you back.”

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