Sami Brooks’ defensive skills are well known, but she couldn’t defend against a strong pitch from Western Illinois University.
The Smoky Hill standout defender, who will begin her senior season this fall, verbally committed to the Leathernecks on Monday after getting to know the program’s coach and taking a visit to the campus in Macomb, Illinois — a town of about 22,000 people — during a recent soccer showcase with her Colorado Storm club team.
Brooks gave the Sentinel a recount of her brisk recruiting process, which came after discussions with University of North Dakota fell through.
“The coach came to one of the Storm camps we held and he ended up becoming interested in me,” she said. “The next week he came and coached one of our practice before we went to a showcase in Iowa and he liked me even more. While I was in Iowa, I went on a visit to the school and I loved it. The small town is perfect and the campus was beautiful. (The coach) came to one of our games and pretty much asked how we wanted to go about this. I wasn’t really talking to any schools… It all worked out though!”
Brooks has been one of the foundations of a successful program in her time at Smoky Hill. She’s been a member of the Aurora Sentinel’s All-City first team as a freshman, sophomore and junior and also been selected to the All-Centennial League first team in 2013 and 2015. She was an all-league second team pick in 2014.
Buffs coach Wes Post calls Brooks a “defensive guru, cannot beat her 1-on-1 and has amazing vision.”
Western Illinois plays in the Summit League, which is also home to the University of Denver along with Fort Wayne, Oral Roberts, Omaha, IUPUI, South Dakota, South Dakota State and North Dakota State. The Leathernecks finished 4-3-1 in conference play and 5-12-1 overall.
Brooks could eventually battle Smoky Hill teammate Brittney Lewis, a junior-to-be who has committed to Denver.
When Brooks arrives, there won’t be any other Aurora players on the roster, as former Grandview standout Meagan Wilson — a 2012 graduate — is a senior on the Western Illinois team in 2015.
The Leathernecks have one other Colorado player on the roster for the upcoming season in Mary Anderson, a midfielder from Doherty High School in Colorado Springs.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel