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Catching up with Aztec Alum Brittany Russo

By Eric Slack, 03/23/17, 7:15PM EDT

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Sometimes it is hard to believe that the earliest Aztec players are now all grown up. But that doesn’t mean they are not still part of the Aztec family. We recently had the chance to catch up with Aztec alum Brittany Russo.

Brittany played at Danvers High School. When she graduated, she was the program’s all-time leading scorer with 101 goals and 38 assists (139 points). The first player in school history to score 100 goals, she was an MIAA All-State standout as a senior, two-time Eastern Mass. all-star, four-time Northeast Conference all-star, All-Scholastic for the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, three-time all-scholastic standout by the Salem News, Salem News Super Team as a senior, and two-time All-Scholastic honors from the Daily Item, three-time team Most Valuable Player. She led Danvers to Northeast Conference titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009, MIAA North Sectional championships in 2007 and 2009 and MIAA semifinal in 2007 and 2009. She was also among 2009 Massachusetts top players by ESPN RISE. She was also a perennial honor student.

Brittany then went on to UMass Lowell, playing for the River Hawks in Division 2 and Division 1. In her freshman year, she was NE-10 Rookie of the Year and named to the NE-10 First and Rookie Team, leading the team with 10 goals along with one assist for 21 points. She was also named to the Second Team NSCA) Division II All-East Region Team. After playing in only eight games as a sophomore due to injury, she returned as a junior to start in all 18 matches, scoring two goals on the season. As a senior, she appeared in all 19 games on the season, starting in 18 of them. She finished her career tied for tenth on the River Hawks scoring list with 30 points (14g, 2a).

She spent many years in the Aztec club system with youth teams and the Boston Aztec WPSL program. 

“I was 7, and Aztec was actually called ‘KIDS’ back then for Kersker Instructional Developmental Soccer. I still have the t-shirt and bag,” she says. “Over the years, I had five head coaches and a few assistant coaches. I loved going to the tournaments the most. I always remember traveling to Clearwater, Florida for a few games, and I even got to go to San Diego. I still keep in touch with some of my former Aztec teammates. Some of us met up for dinner recently. We’re all busy but doing well.”

At UMass Lowell, Britt studied Exercise Physiology. “I picked this major because it is a stepping stone into Physical Therapy,” she says. “I was an intern at the institute of Performance & Fitness during my program.”

Now working in the field she studied at UMass Lowell, Britt has fond memories of her collegiate years, even enjoying the challenge of helping the program transition from Division 2 to Division 1.

“There was definitely a difference,” she says. “D1 was a faster pace, and everyone on the field was athletic and strong. In D1, I had to think quicker, be more creative on and off the ball, mentally tougher and solid on my feet. I loved every minute of playing in both divisions, even though in D1, between going to school, practice and games, and homework, I didn’t have much free time.”

While in college, Britt had the chance to play for Aztec Girls Director Joel Bancroft, the head coach that oversaw the River Hawks transition. 

“I think Joel is a great fit for Aztec,” she says. “He is focused and connected to his players. Aztec players love to play possession style, and I think Joel will be great at facilitating this. He knows the game well; he can be tough at times, but he wants to see his players become as successful as possible.” 

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