Author Topic: Brittany Klein  (Read 1115 times)

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Brittany Klein
« on: May 08, 2009, 01:07:50 AM »
Klein plays big for Red Stars
by Lauren Brill,
7th May 2009

There is a famous saying in sports, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." At 5'3”, the Chicago Red Stars’ Brittany Klein is proving to be one of the league's top midfielders.

"I always say she plays very big for her size,” Chicago's head coach Emma Hayes said.

Drafted 14th overall in the second round of the 2009 WPS Draft, Hayes said she saw a great competitor with a strong skill set that could excel at the pro level. The Arcadia, Calif. native and recent graduate of Santa Clara University has transitioned from an amateur to a professional as well as from a West Coaster to a Midwesterner all in a month’s time.

"The biggest change has probably been acclimating to the weather," Klein said. "I have played in cold weather but not for such a long period of time."

But that has not stopped her from achieving the goals set for her.

"At the start of the season I wanted her to break into the starting 11, that was the first target,” Hayes said. “When she got there, it was to stay there."

Klein’s name remains inked in the starting lineup and during Chicago's most recent game against Boston she proved why she deserves to be there. The 22-year-old scored one goal and tallied two assists in Chicago's 4-0 home victory over the Breakers.

"It was really exciting," Klein recalled. "Our defense was going really well and giving me a lot of options to get into the attack and scoring that goal was really exciting.”

Prior to the win over Boston, Chicago had trouble finishing, scoring only two goals in three games. So what changed on April 25?

“We were confident in each other and we knew we would create chances,” Klein said. “So just to get one kind of opened up the flood gates.”

Besides the fact that Klein played under the lights in front of a roaring home crowd and scored her first goal as a pro, there was another reason that the night felt surreal. Only 12 years old during the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Kristine Lilly, a member of the Boston Breakers and the 1999 U.S. National Team is someone Klein has admired for nearly half of her life. Reality finally sunk in that many of the women she once idolized, she would now compete against in the WPS.

“To play against them and see them on the field is a pretty amazing experience,” Klein said. “I would be happy to fill their shoes because they were amazing for me when I was young.”

Now making a name for herself, Klein’s presence is already strongly felt on her team and  within WPS.

“She is a leader now and she doesn’t even know it,” Hayes said.

Renowned for her tireless work ethic, Klein looks to her teammates for motivation.

“When players work hard for me it just motivates me to work hard for them,” Klein said. “I want my teammates to know that they can depend on me giving them my all.”

And according to Klein, she will need to give her all in Chicago’s Sunday match at Sky Blue FC (6pm ET/3pm PT on Fox Soccer Channel).  The Red Stars tied Sky Blue FC in their home opener on April 19.

“I think we can expect a great game,” Klein said of the re-match.

Hayes said she knows Klein will leave everything she has on the field as she has done day in and day out, adding that the California native is a great asset to Chicago’s offense and defense.

“Her feet move so fast that just as someone tries to move away Brittany is very good at nicking balls off of players at the right time,” Hayes explained.

Facing off against players that have her beat both in years and in size, what is the former psychology major’s secret to excelling at the pro ranks?

“I have to say it pretty much comes down to mentality,” Klein said. 

And while the up and coming WPS star may not rise in size, she added, “I am definitely going to keep growing as a player.”