Leavenworth three-sport athlete strengthens passion for fourth sport

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is Leavenworth senior Brooke Collins competing for Team U.S.A. Futsal during a game in 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 Two years ago, Brooke Collins was in the midst of her sophomore year at Leavenworth High School.

The now-senior was and still is a three-sport athlete, who competes with the Pioneers' tennis, bowling and soccer teams. 

Her first sport was soccer at a youth level while the other two came upon starting high school. Collins loves the sports she competes in for Leavenworth but in December, she will have the opportunity to fully embrace the sport she loves the most. 

During her time playing youth soccer, Collins was introduced to new sport, similar to soccer, called futsal.

Futsal has similarities to soccer, but it features a smaller playing area and ball. It is played on a flat, hard court like a tennis or handball court. Along with the smaller court and ball, it is two teams of five players instead of 11 like traditional soccer and the matches are two, 20-minute halves instead of 45-minute halves. The rules lead to faster games and higher scores compared to soccer. 

While Collins has excelled as a soccer player throughout her life, she said futsal allows her to be more involved in the game as a goalkeeper. 

"In soccer, I'm usually just sitting back there waiting and if I make a mistake it stands out," she said. "Playing futsal, I can play goalkeeper and also play as the fifth attacker sometimes. I'm able to come out of my net and play the ball to my teammates more. I've scored a few times too."

Prior to starting her sophomore year, Collins and junior soccer teammate Sadie Dipman - now a freshman for Baker University's women's soccer team - traveled to Bueno Aires, Argentina, to compete for and represent Team U.S.A. It wasn't the first time the pair had traveled internationally as they had visited Colombia in 2018 for Dipman's first trip while Collins now has six to her name and will be adding a seventh later this year. 

In the time between the trip to Argentina in 2019 and now, Collins has attempted to stay busy with all four of her sports, especially futsal. Following her return from Argentina, she continued to train for the opportunity to visit Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2020 futsal trip. The COVID-19 pandemic began around the time the regional tryouts were to be held and things went into a holding pattern until the entire event was scrapped months later. Her junior season of high school soccer was also lost when sports around the world were put on hold when the pandemic began. 

During the layoff caused by the Brazil trip being canceled, Collins found a way to continue honing her futsal skills by reconnecting with a team she had previously played for that needed a goalkeeper.

Collins' latest trip will have her visit Europe for the first time for futsal as Team U.S.A. is scheduled to travel to Madrid, Spain, to work with some local clubs as well as the national team. This opportunity came after the 2020 trip to Brazil had been canceled due to COVID-19 and will be her last chance to compete with the program. 

I'm so excited," she said of traveling to Spain. "I've never been over there before and I've been studying Spanish all four years of high school so I'm excited to see how far that can get me."

The trip to Spain will see Collins spend the New Year on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean as she is scheduled to depart Dec. 26 and return Jan. 5. 

Outside of futsal, Collins was an all-league selection for the Pioneers' girl's soccer team in 2021 and also qualified for the state tennis tournament with doubles partner Claire Langfoss earlier this month. Despite being devoted to futsal, she is looking forward to one more year on the pitch with her high school team as well. 

"I may not love every aspect of outdoor soccer, but I do love some parts," she said. "I want to play for the coach that trained me my whole life and be with the team for one more year."

Even though the trip to Spain in December will be her last with Team U.S.A. Futsal, Collins has already made plans to stay involved with the organization as a coach after completing high school.