High School Soccer

Soccer: Brentwood turns to McLaughlin to take over Lady Bruin program

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Maggie McLaughlin

Maggie McLaughlin 

There won’t be too much of a transition for the Brentwood girls soccer players after a coaching change this month. The school announced the hiring of assistant coach Maggie McLaughlin Tuesday.

McLaughlin has served as the assistant coach for the Lady Bruins for the past four years and replaces Kersta Mello, who stepped down 10 days ago to spend more time with her growing family, as the new head coach for the Williamson County high school. 

“One of the best things about working with Kersta is we had an equal partnership,” McLaughlin said by phone Tuesday. “Kersta was a really great mentor for me and I think knowing how well we worked together, this is going to be a very easy transition. Things won’t change too much, we just want to keep getting better and better.”

The Lady Bruins played for the Class AAA state championship earlier this month – the program’s eighth finals appearance. Under Mello and McLaughlin’s guidance, Brentwood made three consecutive state tournament runs, capped by this season’s runner-up finish and 16-1 record.

McLaughlin’s Brentwood roots run deep. She’s a Lady Bruin alumna and was a part of the 2005 state championship team as a player before going on to play in college at Appalachian State.

“For me, this is a dream come true,” said McLaughlin, who has coached and taught at Brentwood since 2013. “I played high school soccer here and being back here is always something I’ve wanted. It’s so special.”

Mello said she’s excited about McLaughlin taking the reins.

“She’s Brentwood-grown … and she has great vision for the program,” Mello said. “She’s experienced and she cares for the girls as though they were own.

“I’m looking forward to watching her succeed in the seasons to come.”

McLaughlin played for current Brentwood boys’ coach Mike Purcell. She assisted Purcell from 2014-17 before shifting her focus to the girls’ program.

“He’s another huge mentor for me and continues to be one,” McLaughlin said. “I’ve learned so much from playing for him to coaching with him. He’s a huge asset for me in coaching and helping me become the coach I am today.”

McLaughlin said she wants to continue the special relationships developed over the last four years and expand on them.

“The relationships and the bonds we have made, that’s something Kersta and I have loved to be a part of,” she said. “We built this program to get it where it is. I’m looking forward to continue building it.”

Brentwood went 49-15-2 in the last four years with three regular season District 12-AAA titles and a pair of Region 6-AAA championships.

“My coach, Mike Purcell, is still here and coaching, and I think think that’s a testament of how great the soccer programs are here at Brentwood,” McLaughlin said. “Playing at Brentwood was special and to be able to coach and help provide that same awesome experience I had, it’s an honor.”

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