By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(Feb. 5, 2014) – Dominion High School senior Elysse Branton signed her National Letter of Intent during National Signing Day on Feb. 5 to join head coach John Daly and his staff in Williamsburg, Virginia at the College of William & Mary where she will continue her soccer career beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year.
“As soon as I stepped on the campus I knew it was the place for me. It is a challenging academic school with an amazing soccer tradition,” said the 5-foot-5 Branton. “I love the school, team and coach! It was the best feeling in the world the day I made my decision. Being able to know my future and have everything set in stone was such a relief.”
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Branton decided at a young age she wanted to be just like her older sister. Her older sister, Lindsay, played soccer, so Branton put on some cleats and headed for the pitch.
“As I grew up it was the one thing that I knew I wanted to do. It’s the one thing that can relieve all stress and keep me focused on what is really important,” Branton said. “Staying motivated before committing was easy because the goal was to find a school that I love and commit.
“Staying motivated after is the tricky part. My team and coach have helped in a huge way because we have not stopped developing, improving and playing,” Branton added. “Many committed players slow down because they feel like they are done. Instead of doing that, we have worked harder to make ourselves the best prepared to go into college and make an impact.”
In 2013, William & Mary – aided by Stone Bridge High School graduates Emily Fredrikson and Corinee Giroux – finished with seven ties and went to overtime eight times! The Division I Tribe wound up with an 8-2-7 record including a 5-1-2 record in the Colonial Athletic Association. Branton will have to compete for a spot on the Tribe’s backline as William & Mary will only graduate one starting defender in the class of 2014.
“I think I will add an aggressive defensive presence to the team, while still focusing on keeping the ball and possession,” said Branton who plays club soccer for BRYC 95 Elite. “The Tribe focus on possession soccer and trying to get into the attack, and I feel that I fit perfectly into this system.”
Branton has fit in with the Dominion system since her freshmen year and captained a Titan team which went 10-4-3 last spring. Dominion lost to powerhouse Woodgrove in the Dulles District quarterfinals as they wrapped up their district season 4-3-3.
“I’m really excited for my final high school season! I don’t have many expectations, but I hope that we have a fun season that hopefully takes us far into postseason,” Branton said. “We have a lot of leadership this year with 10 returning seniors. The team is very excited for tryouts, practicing and to begin playing.”
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!