2014-01-30 / Sports

Like father, like daughter

Brooke Wynalda thrives on pitch for Westlake girls’ soccer team
By Gilberto Manzano

Brooke Wynalda Brooke Wynalda Brooke Wynalda was born to play forward.

Wynalda isn’t the fastest or most athletic forward on the pitch, but she possesses traits of a talented striker.

A Westlake High freshman on the girls’ soccer team, Wynalda is a fearless player with a killer instinct inside the box.

She also has greatness in her genes. Wynalda’s father, Eric, is a former star forward for the U.S. men’s national team.

“I love the feeling of scoring goals,” said Brooke Wynalda, who had a team-high five goals entering the week. “Playing forward is my thing. I like being close to the goal and taking shots.”

Wynalda had trouble acclimating to the varsity soccer pace at first.

The freshman Warrior finally broke through on Jan. 10 with a game-winning goal at Agoura. It was only fitting that Wynalda’s first goal came against the Chargers, her mother Amy Ward’s alma mater.

DOUBLE DRIBBLE—Westlake High girls’ soccer freshman Brooke Wynalda, center, dodges teammate Carly Pierson, right, at practice. 
IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers DOUBLE DRIBBLE—Westlake High girls’ soccer freshman Brooke Wynalda, center, dodges teammate Carly Pierson, right, at practice. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers “My mom loved it,” Wynalda said. “She was screaming so loud.”

Wynalda, a right-footed player, has scored all her goals off her head or left foot.

“Brooke was told by many club coaches that she couldn’t play forward because she wasn’t fast enough or couldn’t kick with her left,” Eric Wynalda said. “She’s a forward and she’s proving it.

“She’s determined to play forward.”

Brooke Wynalda is excelling on the same field her father once roamed. He graduated from Westlake High in 1987.

“It didn’t hit me until I saw Brooke play her first game,” said Eric Wynalda, a soccer analyst on Fox Sports 1. “I was sitting in the stands by myself thinking about how cool it is to have my daughter play at the same high school. I had a dad moment.”

Brooke Wynalda grew up in Moorpark before moving to Westlake during middle school.

Wynalda is one of six freshmen making an impact for the Warriors this winter.

“Brooke earned the respect of her teammates by her strong work ethic,” Westlake head coach Frank Marino said. “She’s a confident player with the ability to finish inside the box.”

Wynalda is in the school choir and suited up at defensive specialist for the junior varsity volleyball team this fall.

She’s an avid fan of Chelsea Football Club. Her favorite soccer players are Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres.

“I love soccer,” she said. “I can’t get enough of it.”

Wynalda holds her own on the pitch, but she constantly gets compared to her dad by referees. Eric Wynalda was known for his aggressiveness on the pitch.

“The referees like to joke with me a lot,” she said. “They tell me, ‘Are you Wynalda’s kid? Might as well give you a yellow card right now.’”



The Westlake High girls’ soccer team finds itself in an unusual position this season.

The Warriors, who have won five straight Marmonte League titles, entered the week in third place behind Newbury Park and Royal.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had to play catch-up,” Westlake head coach Frank Marino said. “Usually we’re on top. Now we’re trying to get in the mix.”

Westlake was 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the league at press time. The Warriors dropped close matches to Newbury Park and Royal earlier this season.

The Warriors play host to Calabasas at 6:30 on Friday night.

“I was shocked and mad when we lost to Newbury Park,” senior center back Charlotte Bishop said. “It was a wake-up call.

“We’re still in the mix. We want to dominate teams in the second half of the season. We’re starting to click.”

Westlake welcomed six freshmen to the squad, including leading-scorer Brooke Wynalda. Wynalda, a center forward, had five goals at press time.

Seniors McKenna Masters, Kaitlin Pitcher, Kelsey Kimball and Carly Pierson are top-notch players.

“It took us some time to get on the same page,” said Marino, who’s in his 14th season at Westlake.

Nicole Molen, one of the top midfielders in the area and a USC verbal commit, has been sidelined this season with an injury. Marino said there’s a chance Molen could return before the playoffs. Senior Courtney Appleford has stepped up in Molen’s absence.

Roni Merrill, Jamie Park, Sarah Ishikawa and Megan Chavez are key contributors.

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