This story is part of a series highlighting women in athletics at the University.
Soccer star Brittany Raphino ’23.5 “is one of the most caring and selfless people I know,” wrote Head Coach Kia McNeill in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics. “She does not play for herself or for accolades — she plays for her team.”
Raphino first took the pitch when she was only three years old, inspired by her father’s life-long love of the sport, and never looked back.
Raphino began her Bears career in 2019. “She came in as a freshman a bit shy, nervous and really didn’t know or have the confidence in her capabilities as a player,” McNeill wrote. “Today, she is a completely different woman. She is confident, communicative, a leader, an encourager and really plays with her heart on her sleeve.”
In her first season, Raphino was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year, First Team All-Ivy, Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year and First Team All-East Region. She also helped the team return to the NCAA Tournament and win Ivy League titles — the first since 1994 — in every season she played.
“On the field, you can always rely on Brittany to put her best foot forward,” wrote teammate Sheyenne Allen ’23 in a message to The Herald. Raphino’s hard work “inspires everyone to … play to their potential. She is a natural-born leader on the field.”
“She is really the heartbeat of this team,” McNeill wrote.
Raphino said she was most proud of the relationships she forged with her teammates. “My teammates are everything to me and they have taught me so much. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
“I feel like I was part of something so special,” Raphino said, referencing her team’s three consecutive Ivy League Championships. “We made so much history together.”
Over the last two seasons, Raphino has continued to grow her reputation. In 2021, she was named a second-team All-American. One year later, she was named a first team All-American. She won Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, was a first team All-Ivy selection and earned first team All-East Region honors in each of her past two seasons. This year, she was named to the U.S. U-23 Women’s Youth National Team, competing with the team from March 12-18.
“It was a dream come true,” she said. “The whole time, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was walking to the stadium, and I realized that I was playing in front of a huge crowd and against players I have looked up to since I was younger, my heroes in the game.”
“I am really proud of myself for getting there,” Raphino added. “I still have one more season here (but someday) I want to play professionally.”
With an “insatiable desire to improve” and an unyielding work ethic, McNeill believes Raphino “has what it takes to play at the professional level.”
“She has really raised the bar for our program as a whole,” McNeill said. “It has been amazing to witness her growth over the years.”
Lydell Dyer is a Senior Staff Writer for the sports section. A sophomore hailing from Bonn, Germany, Lydell is studying nonfiction English and political science, and if he's not off "making words sound pretty," you can find him lifting heavy circles at the Nelson.