Taravella soccer standout Brooke Newman doesn’t remember much from the most harrowing night of her life.
She knows there was a horrific car crash, and when she came to, her left hand was shattered and her right pinky finger had been completely severed.
Her finger was found stuck to the back seat of the convertible car where she had been riding.
The accident happened on June 16, 2014, in Coral Springs, where Brooke Newman was having a sleepover at her best friend’s house. The friend convinced a reluctant Newman to go for a late-night “joy ride” with a neighbor.
Newman said the neighbor was speeding and then lost control of the car while taking a sharp turn.
“They crashed into a tree, and I didn’t have my seat belt on,” said Newman, who was in the back seat.
Newman held on for dear life, which is how she sustained the injuries to her hands. The next thing she can recall was sitting on the sidewalk, her best friend sobbing, waiting for paramedics to arrive.
After being rushed to the trauma center, Newman saw her parents, who were devastated.
“They broke down crying,” Newman said. “I hated seeing them cry. It was my fault they were crying. That day changed my life forever. I’ve learned my lesson.”
Newman missed the 2014 club season with Boca United and was out six months before she could play soccer again.
But she returned to play the 2014-2015 high school season, helping Taravella finish 15-5-2.
A central defender, Newman made first-team All-Broward, joining the attack often enough to score three goals and add three assists.
She now has full use of her left hand. Her right pinky finger was reattached, but it has virtually no function.
“It was more cosmetic than anything,” her mother, Jennifer Newman, said of the reattachment.
Still, Newman has marched on and has a scholarship offer to play at St. Thomas University. She also has interest from schools such as Nova Southeastern University and South Carolina Beaufort.
Newman, 18, wants to study sports medicine in college.
“We’re very proud of her,” Jennifer Newman said. “We’re glad she is able to continue to her dream of playing college soccer in light of everything that took place.”
In a two-week span over the past month, American Heritage lost three standout players to season-ending knee injuries.
The biggest loss for the defending Class 3A state champions was the injury to junior midfielder Chyanne Dennis, who is so good she plays for the U.S. Under-17 national team.
Heritage coach Cindy Marcial also lost senior midfielder Dara Magdeleno and junior defender Angel Bredlove.
But Marcial, who will have to contend with former 4A power Pines Charter in 3A this year, is not concerned.
“I have a very deep team,” she said. “Our girls will step up. I don’t think our level will drop.”
Heritage faces a major challenge on Nov. 9 at St. Thomas Aquinas in a battle of defending state champs. Aquinas, which won the 5A crown last year, is now in Class 4A.
Monday: Season began.
Jan. 11-16: Districts.
Jan. 21: Regional quarterfinals.
Jan. 26: Regional semifinals.
Jan. 29: Regional finals.
Feb. 3-6: State final four at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne.
DEFENDING STATE CHAMPIONS
Class 5A: St. Thomas Aquinas; Class 4A: Viera; Class 3A: Plantation American Heritage; Class 2A: Jacksonville Bolles; Class 1A: Orange Park St. Johns Country Day.
1: St. Thomas Aquinas; 2: American Heritage; 3: Pines Charter; 4: Cypress Bay; 5; Archbishop McCarthy: 6: Douglas; 7: Taravella; 8: West Broward; 9: Cardinal Gibbons: 10: North Broward Prep; 11: Westminster Academy; 12: Pine Crest
AMERICAN HERITAGE: Coach: Cindy Marcial; Last season: 22-2-1, Class 3A state champs: Top players: Dejah Cason (sr. F); Zandy Soree (sr. M); Jaida Scott (jr. D); Noteworthy: There are a lot of versatile players but just three seniors.
ARCHBISHOP McCARTHY: Coach: Mike Sica; Last season: 19-5-2, regional quarterfinals: Top players: Amanda Perez (sr. F); Olivia Reese (jr. D); Madison St. Philip (sr. F); Noteworthy: Perez had 30 goals last season, earning numerous honors.
CALVARY CHRISTIAN: Coach: Nichole Stephenson; Last season: NA; Top players: Jenna Elique (so. D); Savannah Crump (so. G); Karla Rivera (8th-grade F); Noteworthy; It’s a young team, but the coach is excited about her new goalie, Crump.
CARDINAL GIBBONS: Coach: Margo Flack; Last season: 15-8-1, regional quarterfinals; Top players: Mackenzie Crittenberger (sr. M); Tina Chambliss (sr. D); Ryleigh Brown (jr. G); Noteworthy: Team returns 10 starters and has strong sophomore class.
CYPRESS BAY: Coach: Kate Dwyer; Last season: 20-2, regional semifinals; Top players: Maria Munoz (sr. M); Mary Matamoros (sr. F); Katie Slattery (sr. D); Noteworthy: Munoz and Matamoros had 12 goals each last season as team went 18-0 before playoffs.
DOUGLAS: Coach: Laura Rountree; Last season: 17-3-2, district runnerup; Top players: Nia Perkovich (sr. M); Samantha Tobar (so. F); Jordan Ross (so. M); Noteworthy: Tobar had 11 goals and 13 assists last season.
FORT LAUDERDALE: Coach: Aldo Oyarzun; Last season: 14-2-3; Top players: Ashley Buchanan (sr. G); Victoria Sola (so. D); Madisyn Laskowski (jr. M); Noteworthy: Coach expects to have a strong defensive squad.
NORTH BROWARD PREP: Coach: Tricia Amrhein; Last season: 19-4-1, regional semifinals: Top players: Rachel Blow (sr. M); Morgan Sherman (jr. M); Morgan Hawes (jr. M); Noteworthy: Preseason knee injury will cost starting goalie six weeks.
PINE CREST: Coach: Pepi Vallejo; Last season: 13-7-3, district semifinals; Top players: Sophia Danielsen (sr. G); Autumn Clark (sr. M); Isabelle Turner (sr. M); Noteworthy: A young player to watch is sophomore midfielder Evanthia Spyredes.
PIPER: Coach: Sierra Lelii; Last season: 5-13; Top players: Natasha Murray (sr. F); Valery Noland (jr. M); Emilia Geck (fr. M); Noteworthy: Freshmen to watch on this team include Geck and defender Gloria Bocyck.
SAGEMONT: Coach: Danielle Sandi; Last season: NA; Top players: Daricia Arrindell (sr. M); Kelsey Calamara (sr. M); Noteworthy: Arrindell and Calamara lead a potentially strong midfield, but this is a very inexperienced team.
SOUTH BROWARD: Coach: Jose Cea; Last season: 10-9-2, district runner-up; Top players: Mariana Gomez (sr. M); Kaycee Braeseke (Jr. M); Fabiola Campos (Jr. M); Noteworthy: Freshman forward Barbara Fernandez is a young player to watch.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: Coach: Carlos Giron; Last season: 24-1-1, Class 5A state champs; Top players: Bella Dorosy (jr. F); Chloe O’Neill (so. F); Abby Pangallo (jr. G); Noteworthy: The Raiders return 21 players from state-title team.
TARAVELLA: Coach: Kathy Fitzgerald; Last season: 15-5-2, regional quarterfinals: Top players: Alexis Boutchie (sr. M); Brooke Newman (sr. D); Brooke Boutchie (so. M); Noteworthy: Team brings back five starters, including Alexis Boutchie, who had 22 goals last season.
WESTERN: Coach: Jennifer MacNeill; Last season: 11-4-1; Top players: Gabriella Sanon (F); Taylor Jurgrau (M); Tiya Gallagher (D); Noteworthy: Three of the team’s top five players are defenders.
WESTMINSTER ACADEMY: Coach: Dale Renwick; Last season: 15-3-2; Top players: Lexi Kinsey (sr. F); Camryn Pagliaro (so. M); Kathryn Ford (so. D); Noteworthy: Kinsey, who had 22 goals last season, is looking for a huge senior year.