PITSBURG – It’s clear from the first time you meet her that Chloe Brumbaugh has a passion for sports.
The soon-to-be 17-year-old junior from Franklin-Monroe is a three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and softball) for the Jets and is ready to step back on the pitch fully recovered from knee surgery this season. She played her sophomore year in soccer with a knee brace, but was limited to a more defensive role instead of playing her normal position up front. And she still scored nine goals on the season.
This year, she is excited to be back on the front line and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“I’m really excited this year because last year I was put back on defense since I was coming back from surgery,” Brumbaugh said. “This year I get to play up front where I normally play so I’m really excited about that. We have some new people coming out and I have the opportunity to play with them for the first time in a while and I just think we will be a lot better than last year.”
Brumbaugh tore her ACL playing basketball in the second game of her freshman season. She tried to play again the next game, but during tweaked her knee during warm-ups and that was it. She got an MRI and found out it was completely torn. She missed the rest of basketball, all of softball that year and all of the summer activities heading into her sophomore year. She even missed the first few games of the soccer season last year, but credits her coach with pushing her to get back on the field.
“Coach (Danny) Dicneau pushes me every single day and never backs down and I love it,” Brumbaugh said. “He keeps me going. Last year when I was coming back from surgery I failed my first test to come back and I was completely down about it. I kind of lost hope for a while, but when two-a-days started I came and just watched, but Danny was on my tail every single day to do my rehab. That’s what got me back really quick.
“It took me a while to come back because I was really nervous,” she continued. “I didn’t want to hurt it again because I know a lot of people that have re-injured their knees and that scared me so I was really cautious. Once games started and I had my brace on I went in and played like I never got hurt.”
Coach Dicneau said Brumbaugh has the heart of a lioness.
“She has come back tremendously,” Dicneau said. “Last year she came back in the fourth game and with her presence we had better results. She scored a lot of key goals for us and I played her on defense and pushed her up occassionally. She would score a goal and come back to play defense and stop the other team. Not single-handedly, but she had a hand in stopping the other team.
“She is an important cog in our wheel,” he continued. “She does a lot of good things and makes players around her better which is a good thing to have on the field. She is a very aggressive girl which I feel makes her a devastating opponent to the other team because she doesn’t give up on the ball. She is a very talented athlete who can be good at any sport she concentrates on. It just happens to be that her love is soccer.”
Brumbaugh has set some personal goals for this season, and has a desire to play soccer at the collegiate level too, though she admits thoughts in that direction are just now becoming more of a priority for her.
“I’m going to try to savor this year for sure because I don’t want it to be done,” Brumbaugh said. “I really like this group of girls. We all have a lot of fun and there have been lots of adventures with these people.
“For me personally, I want to score more goals, but I also want to increase my assists this year,” she continued. “I also want to improve my footwork. In the past I did a lot of outrunning people and not so much working through people. I want to play in college, but I have not found a school yet. I’m not sure what I want to do but I have definitely been putting a lot more thought into it. I can’t imagine not playing soccer though.”
The Jets struggled in the 2017 season with a 1-10-1 overall record (1-2-1 in the Cross County Conference). Both Brumbaugh and Dicneau think this year will be better.
“Teamwork will be a big key for us to being successful this year,” Brumbaugh said. “Last year it took us quite a bit of time to click together and work as a team. Once we figured that out you could tell a big difference in our scores and statistics. Once we start playing like we did at the end of last season I think we will be really successful. I have high hopes for this group of girls.”
“I ask a lot both mentally and physically on the field from these girls and they have adapted well,” Dicneau said. “Our expectations this year are to do better than last year which shouldn’t be hard to do since we didn’t win that many games last year. The girls progressed throughout the season last year and that’s what you want a team to do. You want them to be a better version of themselves and I think we succeeded in that. We won a tournament game last year too which I don’t think too many people expected us to do.
“Wins and losses come and go but the memories they make will last a lifetime so success is judged by how they progressed and not the wins and losses,” he continued. “I think last year was a successful season because they got better, they improved and they learned so we will see what that translates into this year. I think overall I have a more talented team so I’ll have more expectations of them than last year. I hope that we win more games than last year in the regular season and then advance beyond the first game of the tournament. It’s about smalls steps and small transitions and we’ll see where it goes.”
Franklin-Monroe gets its season underway tonight with a home game against Brookville. The girls play at 5:30 p.m. followed by the boys, who will host Botkins at 7:30 p.m.