TAMPA – South Florida women’s soccer coach Denise Schilte-Brown believes that even if it didn’t affect her personally, she would feel just as strongly about the Bulls’ “Think Pink” game on Friday night against Providence.
But, as with so many people in the U.S., the game does hold a personal meaning for the Bulls coach.
“My sister-in-law lost her mother to breast cancer not long ago, and it means a lot to me to support to cause and be there in memory of her mother who was a very powerful, passionate woman,” Schilte-Brown said. “Vicki Martin was someone I looked up to because she had a strong personality. It was a big loss when we lost her, and whenever this day comes around I spend time thinking about her and hope that this game honors her memory.”
It is estimated that in 2009, 40,170 women in America will die from breast cancer. While that number is slowly reducing, by over two percent every year since 1990, there obviously remains a long way to go. That is why South Florida has participated in the “Bulls for a Cure” program for the past six years, raising over $13,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Tonight, against Providence, the team will wear special pink uniforms, which will be auctioned off after the game, the proceeds going to the foundation. Schilte-Brown said she expects as game-time approaches, the players will get a greater sense of what this game means.
“I think that the enormity of what the pink will mean and how much it represents will unfold itself as the game approaches,” Schilte-Brown said. “When they put on those pink jerseys and they remember special women in their lives that they’ve lost or who are struggling with breast cancer now, I think it’ll mean a lot to them to represent those women and just represent strong women everywhere. I think we truly have great role models on this team, and that they are good representatives of the color.”
BE PREPARED: As the saying goes, proper preparation prevents poor performance, and it appears to be one South Florida’s players have taken to heart.
The Bulls enter Friday’s game on a five-game undefeated run, and one of the reasons Schilte-Brown gives for that is the way the team has prepared itself off the field.
“I think it’s made an enormous impact,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think they’re doing an awesome job of staying out of trouble, getting to bed early, eating properly, getting the recovery they need in the pool, getting the ice baths, wearing the recovery pants, just mentally preparing for the game, trying not to bring stress to the field. They’re just doing a great job.”
Schilte-Brown said after Sunday’s 0-0 tie against then No.13 Rutgers, where the Bulls controlled good portions of the game and played well enough to win, that she thought the work her side had done in the time between last Friday’s game against Seton Hall and Sunday afternoon’s kickoff had given her side an edge.
“I felt like we had more energy on a Sunday again that the other team” Schilte-Brown said after the Rutgers game. “I’m really proud of the way my girls are being professionals.
“They’re a young team, but they’re mature, and they’re making the right decisions, and that’s really big.”