Josh Brant ’88, the Boys Varsity Soccer Assistant Coach and School Psychologist, and Becky Harper ’07, a Spanish teacher and Director of Equity and Community at Hopkins, were both members of the soccer program during their time at Hopkins. The two were standout athletes, and, as such, remember Hopkins soccer fondly.
Athletics has always played a central role in Boys Varsity Soccer Assistant Coach and School Psychologist Josh Brant’s life: “As long as I can remember, I have identified as an athlete. For others, they identify as pilots, teachers, musicians, lawyers, and doctors. Being on the playing field always felt right. I was, and am, safe, confident, and fully self-expressed.” At Hopkins, Brant played goalkeeper for the soccer team. But to him, sports at Hopkins have changed drastically: “There seemed to be more school spirit back then. Sporting events were better attended and the rivalries seemed to matter more. Being an athlete carried more social weight then than it does now. Students seemed to be more recognized for athletic achievement back then whereas academics seem to lead the way today.”
The relative importance of athletics in Brant’s Hopkins days may be to sucess his team enjoyed. In his junior year, Brant's team “was the first Hopkins team to ever make the WNEPSSA tournament.” Becky Harper, a Spanish teacher and Director of Equity and Community at Hopkins, also made the New England playoffs with her Hopkins soccer team. She recalls this playoff push fondly: “Hands down my most memorable moment was scoring the winning goal in the quarter finals of New England’s to send us to the semi finals- the farthest the program has ever been. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. We came back to beat Westminster who had upset us at home the year prior. We played our hearts out.”
That sense of pride for Harper and Brant partially came from the community around Hopkins soccer. Harper most remembers the family-like aspect of Hopkins Soccer within her team: “The Girls’ Varsity Team, during my four years, was like family. We had team dinners every Friday, made sure everyone could attend, decorated the locker room without fail with secret psyches, and dressed up fore games. also remember our warm ups and team bonding games. My freshman year we all wore rubber on our wrists that said ‘TOGETHER.’ wore them every game. We won and together. We fought for each other. The team spirit was undeniable. I’ll never for- get that.” Likewise, Brant felt like part a larger community when his team Hamden Hall, Hopkins’ perennial under the lights down at East Shore in New Haven. = Brant recalled that “there seemed to be a thousand people there. The atmosphere was electric. I was proud to represent Hopkins!”
Athletics have been essential parts of both Harper’s and Brant’s life, before, during and even after their days as a Hopkins student. Harper played college soccer and now coaches the Girls Junior School Soc-cer team. Of her commitment to sports, she said, “Athletics and being an athlete was a major component in my time at Hopkins, and in my life overall. Regardless of homework and my other commitments, soccer was a priority and I made it work. Skipping practice wasn’t an option for me. Playing and being with the team brought me joy.” Brant, like Harper, played in college, and now, while coaching the Boys Soccer team, still looks to sports to ground him: “I look to sports to feel a sense of safety, belonging, confidence, and full self-expression.”