State Colleges

Rival soccer coaches at Barry University and Nova have Scottish roots in common

The Scottish town of Coatbridge is small — population 41,000 — but it was big enough so that John Constable and Denise Brolly never knew each other while living there.

Coatbridge’s earliest known settlement dates back to the Stone Age. It was a coal-mining town in the 19th century, the heart of industrial Scotland. Today, it’s a working-class town where most of the people root for one of two Glasgow pro soccer clubs — Celtic or Rangers.

Brolly, 34, left Coatbridge in 2002. Constable, 32, left Coatbridge one year later.

Yet the two never met or were even aware of each other until this past spring when Brolly, who is the third-year coach of the Barry University women’s soccer team, faced Constable, the first-year coach of the women’s soccer team at rival Nova Southeastern.

Who won?

“That’s a silly question,” Brolly said playfully. “We did [2-1].”

Brolly, who as a player was a midfielder and a member of the Scottish National Team, said it’s “crazy” she and Constable are coaches at rival schools, considering they are from the same home town, 4,000 miles away.

Constable said it’s “unique” and “interesting.”

Barry (6-2, 2-1 Sunshine State Conference) will play host to NSU (7-2, 2-1 SSC) on Oct. 21. Barry is ranked 11th in the nation in Division II, having been No.  1 earlier in the year. NSU is unranked but has won four consecutive matches by a combined score of 10-2.

Constable said Brolly has been “very helpful” since he arrived on the scene from Converse College, a Division II school in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“She picked up the phone and said that if I need anything, just ask,” said Constable, who played pro soccer as a midfielder in Scotland. “She was a fantastic player, and she has a very good program.

“But I’m not expecting to go there [to Barry] to get beat. We have a belief in ourselves. We know we are a good team. When we [lost to Barry in the exhibition], it wasn’t a one-sided affair.”

For her part, Brolly said Constable was “all business” when they chatted before their match in the spring.

Obviously, home is one thing. But a soccer rivalry is another. And, if anything, Brolly has some Scottish help on her side. Two of her top four scorers are from Scotland — sophomore midfielders Christy Grimshaw and Amanda Traynor. In addition, Barry assistant coach Danny Wheelan is also from Scotland.

Grimshaw, Traynor and Wheelan, though, are not from Coatbridge. But someone else who is from Coatbridge is Embry-Riddle assistant coach Liam McIlhatton.

Constable went to school with McIlhatton’s’ cousin.

“It’s pretty remarkable,” Brolly said of the Coatbridge-to-South Florida connection. “It just shows the [soccer] talent we have back home.”


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