ECNL alumni from across the country take us through a current day in their life with video takeovers for A Day in the League on the Girls Soccer Network, alumni edition.
Brice Bement, a St. Louis Scott Gallagher alum, went on to play college soccer at both Indiana State and Austin Peay. While in college, she majored in broadcast communications with a minor in journalism. Bement is now working as a sports reporter in Champaign, Ill., where she covers the Fighting Illini, high school sports, as well as a multitude of other things.
We also sat down and talked with Bement to see how her time in the ECNL helped shape her and her career path.
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How did your playing time in the ECNL help prepare you for a career as a sports reporter?
I would say it helps with time management and things like that. In high school I was playing a lot of sports and you’re traveling for games for ECNL and everything, and I played a couple other sports too. So, I really had to learn how to time manage, and that’s something that I think in any job people are going to have to do. So, I think that really helped me with juggling a lot of stuff. Now my job I have to run around like a madman sometimes, so I think it just helps with that kind of stuff and just being able to manage my time.
As a former athlete at a high level, do you think you have some additional insight when you’re covering sports that other people who did not play at such a high level might not have?
I played four sports growing up and I tried different ones as well. In high school I was juggling four sports at one point, so I learned how to play the sports inside and out. I think that has kind of given me a little bit of an edge compared to some people who haven’t necessarily played a sport. I know the rules. I know the game as a former athlete. I also feel like I understand where some athletes are coming from sometimes if they had a rough game or something like that. So, I feel like I can relate to the athletes I’m interviewing, and I understand when I talk to high school kids that things like recruitment can be stressful, but I think the main one would be that I understand the game. A lot of sports that I’m talking about, I played them, so I can just relate a lot better.
What made you want to pursue a career in sports coverage?
I grew up in a family that was very sports oriented. I grew up going to my brother’s games and practices. I would bring a soccer ball or whatever I wanted. I remember we would do pickup baseball with all the siblings. So, growing up, if I wasn’t playing myself, I was at my brother’s games and practices. My parents both played Division 1 college sports as well, so we all were just always around sports. We have soccer on every Sunday. My parents have it on our TV whenever I’m home. We have football on all the time, so we just always have games on. So, I would just say just being around it. I’m a big talker, I like to talk a lot. When I was in grade school, I used to get in trouble for talking. Then I found out that there’s a career that I can talk, and I found out there’s a career that I could talk about sports, and I love sports. So, I just put two and two together and was like, this is my dream job. I can just talk about sports all day long, which I love to do anyways, and so doing it for a career was kind of the perfect job for me.
What were some of the biggest lessons that you took from your coaches when you were at Scott Gallagher?
I would say one of the things at Gallagher, in the best way, they stayed composed and relaxed. Obviously, they taught me a bunch on the field, but they just kind of enforced that hard work ethic. We just had that mentality of you want to be the best, and I mean this in the best way, you want to strive to be the best version of yourself. I feel like they really pushed me to become better and they also pushed academics. Just a fun story, so I went to high school really far away from my house, and sometimes soccer practice for club was at like five, so I couldn’t really drive home because I lived like an hour away. I would pick up lunch or dinner and go sit in the upstairs area of Gallagher and sit on the couch and hang out with the coaches and stuff. So, they just had that family kind of vibe I would say. So, I thought that was really neat with Gallagher that I could just sit around and talk to the coaches, and just how welcoming they were, because I didn’t really have a place to go since I couldn’t go home, so I would just sit there and do my homework and they would just hang out with me. But I would just say trying to get us to be the best versions of ourselves and just kind of constantly work hard and you can achieve your goals if you set your mind to it.
Looking back on it, what was your most memorable experience you had when you were a youth athlete?
For ECNL, my first showcase, I remember that one pretty well. It was in Phoenix, and I just thought it was super neat. At that time, I kind of thought I was going to play softball in college, so I was missing some of the ECNL showcases to play softball. So, I went to one in Phoenix, with the ECNL team for Gallagher, and I was like oh, this is really neat. I just remember that there’s a bunch of coaches just lined up along the line. I think there was a North Carolina team and like UNC was there, and every little girl’s dream is to go play at UNC. I just remember that was just a really cool experience for me to see that and I was like, wow, it’s really neat that they got so many college coaches to come out. And obviously, being in a hotel with your friends is always just the best, and so all those trips where we would go somewhere and just hanging with the girls and getting to explore different cities and just being with each other was super fun. We went to Seattle for ECNL regionals, and it was just really fun. We got to go downtown to Seattle after all our games, and it just took us to some really neat places, like I wouldn’t have ever been to Seattle if I hadn’t played soccer for the ECNL.