By Justine Espersen
This spring, women’s soccer assistant coach and 2011 Olivet grad Brittany Hengesh joined the ever-growing list of former Tigers that are playing professionally.
Hengesh successfully tried out for the newly formed Chicago Red Stars, a Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) team, on March 31. She ended up being one of two NAIA players signed – the other was senior Allison Doyle of CCAC rival Trinity Christian University (Ill.).
The rest of the players are from NCAA leagues or are veteran players in the WPSL league.
Ironically, Hengesh said both she and Doyle had no realistic intentions of joining the team; they just wanted to see where they were competitively.
“[Going pro] wasn’t something I pursued or dreamed of doing,” Hengesh said. “So then I was shocked to know I made the team.”
Hengesh will practice with the team multiple times a week in Chicago and games will start the end of May and go through July.
As a coach, Hengesh hopes to be able to bring back new perspectives from her season with the Red Stars to the Lady Tiger next fall.
“I just want to learn from them and help the girls get better here at Olivet,” Hengesh said.
However, this is not Hengesh’s first time playing at a higher level. Over the past two years, she has also played for the Philadelphia Buxmont Torch, a lower Christian league team.
“I’m really excited and nervous to play,” she said. “Since it’s not a Christian league, it may be a little difficult. I haven’t played with non-Christians for a while; not since high school. [But] I’ll embrace it as a ministry opportunity.”
While she is unsure if she’ll be extending her contract beyond this season, Hengesh is sure she’ll always be influenced by soccer.
“I feel like soccer will always be a part of my life,” Hengesh said.