Coach Angela Brunner, a prominent leader in Georgia girls lacrosse, shares her insights of the traits that athletes require to play at the next level. Having been a varsity head coach for over 14 years, she has successfully helped grow the game of lacrosse in Georgia while inspiring athletes of all ages to play sports in college.
We first met Coach Brunner when filming the Reindeer Games for Thunder Lacrosse / Atlanta Storm lacrosse. This event is so much fun and you can learn more about the Reindeer Games here. A year or two later, we produced the Lassiter Girls Lacrosse Season Documentary where she is currently the head coach. Coach Brunner is a great leader, awesome coach, and fantastic person to work with. Stay tuned as we produced the 2023 Lassiter Lacrosse Documentary.
Read the Full College Recruiting Interview Below
GAS: What is your background in playing/coaching lacrosse?
Angela Brunner: I have been coaching lacrosse in Georgia since 2007 and have been a Varsity Head Coach for the past 14 years.
In 2017, I started Atlanta Storm Lacrosse, a club lacrosse program for girls of all ages and levels.
I grew up in Maryland, the hotbed of lacrosse and began playing lacrosse in 6th grade. Afterwards, I went on to play division 2 collegiate lacrosse.
GAS: Tell us about the Atlanta Storm. How does this program help athletes in their quest for playing in college?
Angela Brunner: Atlanta Storm is a club lacrosse program that has opportunities for all players. We have programs available for girls who are new to the game and programs for those who wish to play at the highest collegiate level.
Atlanta Storm Lacrosse is directed and coached by former and current collegiate lacrosse players, as well as current and former collegiate lacrosse coaches. With our network of coaches, we are able to provide insight and guidance to all players who may be interested in playing collegiate lacrosse whether it is division 1, 2, & 3, NAIA and /or Club Lacrosse. Our mission is to help our girls find the right fit, where they can excel in both academics and athletics.
Our coaches want to build well-rounded players who are also great human beings. We have a very detailed recruiting manual that all of our players and their families have access to and a staff that is well versed in recruitment. We also provide our players with access to video and multiple ways to reach college coaches.
GAS: What are 3 tips that you would give to athletes who want to play in college?
1.) Choose a school that you would be happy at with no lacrosse. If for some reason, lacrosse does not work out, you do not want to be in a position where you are not happy being a student. What are your non-negotiables for your college experience?
2.) Grades determine college options. Academics are what will provide you with the most financial freedom, not athletics. At the Division 1 level, there are 12 total athletic scholarships divided amongst the entire roster, and the average roster size is 29.9.
3.) With a plan and a good support system, you can get excited about pursuing your future instead of feeling overwhelmed throughout the process. If you are interested in playing in college, there is a program for you! You just have to be willing to put in the HARD work and SACRIFICE. There is NO guarantee that you will play in college, but it is up to you how much effort you put into your recruitment and the admission process. There are a TON of girls who say they want to play in college, BUT first you must understand the process and the time commitment involved. If you decide you want to play in college, MEAN IT and make the commitment to do the work!
GAS: What is the best way for athletes to reach out to college coaches and begin getting noticed?
Angela Brunner: It's a business deal! You are the product and you must market yourself to the school! You want a school that wants you for who you are and it is your job to do your research and prove to them that you are an asset to their program.
Get on Campus | Introduce yourself to the coaches, ask them questions, attend their events, and take a campus tour.
Film | Have great film that you can send to coaches. Don't just show your highlights, let them see you fail and how you respond! If you turn the ball over, how hard are you going to hustle to get it back?
Tournaments & Showcase Events | Choose the best club program that will provide you with opportunities to showcase in the appropriate tournaments & showcase events.
Communication | Send emails to college coaches, letting them know which events you will be attending. Make it personal, showcase your personality!
Social Media | Use social media to your advantage! Social media is an insight to who you are as a player and person. Showcase your abilities and personality!
GAS: Looking at athletes that you've helped get recruited at Lassiter and Atlanta Storm, what similar traits did those athletes share?
Honest & Humble - Honest and realistic in their abilities. Also, they are honest about what they want out of their recruiting process.
Mentally Tough - You are going to get knocked down 1,000 times and you are going to get told, "no, you are not good enough." You have to be able to brush it off and focus on what you can control.
Disciplined & Able to Make Sacrifices - I once heard that those players who play for a top ten program play on average 50/52 weekends of the year. Being from the south, you are not only going to have to travel but you have to travel far and often!
Coachable and Never Complains - Uses criticism, comments and feedback constructively. Understands that being from the south, they have to work extra hard to get noticed and to get recruited.
A GREAT TEAMMATE
GAS: What recent commits are you most proud of and why?
2024 Avery Hudson - She is heading to Boston College, a national champion powerhouse. Avery started playing lacrosse in 9th grade and is a multi-sport athlete (basketball and softball). She is an inspiration to all of those girls who are from a non-traditional area and that fall in love with the sport later than their peers.
2024 Elizabeth Bond- Committed to Johns Hopkins. I saw Elizabeth and her sister play when she was a freshman and was so impressed that I approached them after the game. Elizabeth started playing with our 2024s as a freshman and she proved that you can be a multi-sport athlete and excel in the classroom. Elizabeth is a true “Commander” on the field and her vocal leadership is what makes her stand out to coaches. There are so many GREAT skilled players, but the intangibles are what matter to coaches!
2023 Ava Menna - Liberty University. Ava did not commit until the fall of her senior year. She had many setbacks and various offers that others would have “settled for” but she knew her value and what she wanted from a school… She was patient and she trusted the process and continued to put in the work even when it felt impossible.
Avery Hudson, Left | Elizabeth Bond, Center | Ava Menna, Right
GAS: Why is helping your athletes reach their goals of playing college important to you?
Angela Brunner: This is a question that I constantly ask myself and there are so many things that drive me to help my athletes reach their goal of playing in college.
I have seen many players quit, burn out, enter the transfer portal, and/or ending up decommitting their senior year. I want girls to LOVE the game of lacrosse and have a great support system if they want to pursue playing in college. It can be a very overwhelming time and can cause a lot of stress if you do not have a clear action plan. I want girls to be excited and confident in the decision that they make based on what is most important to them.
One time, in my early coaching days, I had an incredible goalie who top in her class. As a freshman she was offered a full ride to a very high academic school and she accepted the offer. I had a gut feeling that it was not the right fit for her. She was average in school and she had a brother with special needs, one she did not wish to be far from. This school was very challenging to get accepted to and located in the Northeast, very far from home. When it came time for her to apply to college, she was not accepted. She lost her scholarship and began having major mental health issues. She never recovered and ended up not pursuing lacrosse and chose to not go to college. She was incredibly talented, funny, loving and kind. At this time, it was still extremely challenging for Southern girls to get exposure, and this felt like a step in the wrong direction. Southern girls had to work 10 times harder to get recruited, and had to pay 10 times more money to get recruited because they had to travel far to play in recruiting events and attend showcases. Since then, there have been a lot more southern schools that have acquired lacrosse and our girls are getting more exposure.
Also, prior to starting Atlanta Storm, lacrosse was not growing across the entire state and only small pockets of the state were excelling. When I first started coaching, I had to rebuild an entire program. We did not have a youth program and I had to recruit girls who were walking down the hall to come and try lacrosse. This made it extremely difficult to compete with the other powerhouses. There was a need for local opportunities for players who were new to the game and became developed in the off season. Players like Avery Hudson prove that when resources are available to athletes who start playing in middle or high school, that with a developmental approach and club playing opportunities, they can excel and surpass those elite players who have been playing for years and years. Most club programs only cater to the top tier player and we strive to help everyone pursue their dream to play in college at any level, Club, NAIA, Division 1, 2, and 3!
The game of lacrosse has so much history and it is such an amazing sport!
GAS: Any final pieces of advice for athletes who want to play in college?
Angela Brunner: This is a journey, and it is what you make it. Realize that your mindset going into your recruiting process is what is going to make a difference (E+R=O) | Event + Response = Outcome. With that said, focus on the process, not the outcome. Try to improve as a player, as an athlete, don’t play to get recruited.
More About Atlanta Storm Lacrosse
With an unparalleled dedication to high-quality coaching and positive player and parent engagement, Atlanta Storm sets itself apart as a rapidly growing comprehensive women’s lacrosse program because of their commitment to serve players of all ages and abilities. Storm's full range of offerings include focused individual and team developmental opportunities, competitive performance elevation experiences, and our advocacy and exposure for players desiring to compete at the collegiate level. With experienced coaches at all levels, Storm provides instruction by incorporating individual and team-based learning opportunities for players at every stage of their progression.