Injured soccer star remains integral part of UNCW team

WILMINGTON -- UNCW senior Bret Patterson vows to never give up soccer. "It's my favorite thing in the world," Patterson said. "I've grown up playing it since I was young and it's still very important." Patterson started at left back for the nationally ranked Seahawks as a freshman and was an all-conference rookie. At the beginning of his sophomore year he collided with another player and suffered a concussion. The injury ended his career. "The doctor right then and there said he was scared that I would die if I got another concussion," Patterson recalls. "So it was kind of a reality check." Even though Patterson can't play anymore, the UNCW soccer team is still a major part of his life. He's an assistant coach for the Seahawks and devotes countless hours to statistical analysis and mentoring young players. "I think I can play the role of setting a good example for the players of how to perform in the classroom and off the field," said Patterson. Patterson is a business major with a focus in economics and finance. It's a lot to juggle but he still manages to maintain a 3.9 GPA. "He's just a model student athlete," said Aidan Heaney, Head Men's Soccer Coach at UNCW. Heaney recruited Patterson three years ago and says he was a great player in his prime. But, says Heaney, Patterson has been just as valuable to the team off the field. "The players really look up to him," Heaney said. "They are really comfortable relating to Bret and talking with Bret and asking his advice and I think that's a very special trait." This year will be Patterson's last with the Seahawks. But he says his soccer career isn't over yet. "I can definately see myself coaching a club team down the line," said Patterson. "And if I could end up with a career maybe in soccer maybe with an MLS team or something like that, that would be an absolute dream come true."

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