Loudoun 99 Red’s club national championship run last summer gave a big college recruiting boost to Bret Halsey and his teammates. (Photo by Greg Chapman)

Brett Halsey has some advice to high school soccer players trying to get recruited: Go win a national championship.

That’s what worked for the Potomac Falls junior anyhow, as college scouts flocked to Frisco, Texas last July for the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series. Halsey’s Loudoun 99B Red squad beat the Dix Hills Hurricanes (N.Y.), 1-0, in the U-16 boys’ final to secure the club’s first national title.

“It’s just like a magnet drawing in coaches and recruiters,” Halsey said.

College attention has come at Halsey thick and fast over the last year. He received offers from Virginia, Georgetown and William & Mary, and more were likely on the way from Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and American. But Halsey ended the suspense on March 31, pledging his verbal commitment to the Cavaliers.

College offers were heading toward Halsey no matter what happened in that big game last July. The shifty midfielder possesses uncommon creativity on the ball and has an uncanny ability to find teammates in space. Halsey’s first touch is superb, and he has a knack for wriggling out of tight spots.

Still, Halsey can’t deny that Loudoun 99B Red’s swashbuckling performance last summer — they also won state and regional titles before advancing to nationals — boosted the recruiting stock of every player on the team.

“I think any game or tournament that we play in, there’s always going to be coaches there,” said Halsey, who opted not to play for his high school team this spring in light of a heavy course workload. “Everyone always wants to come out and see the national champions play. It’s the same when we play other teams. They always step up their game versus us.”

Virginia assistant coach Terry Boss began recruiting Halsey last summer, prompting Halsey to visit the Charlottesville campus in the fall. More than anything, he came away impressed by the intensity of the Cavaliers’ training sessions.

“They were all battling,” Halsey said. “At the time you couldn’t tell that they were buddies off the field because they were just playing so hard.”

Chalk it up as another win for a Virginia staff that has mined the Washington area’s fertile recruiting reserves as successfully as anyone in recent years. Four former All-Met players currently dot the Cavaliers’ roster: Lucas Mendes (Washington-Lee), Colin Shutler (Briar Woods), Nicko Corriveau (Gonzaga) and Wesley Suggs (DeMatha).

“I feel like they have a soccer culture there,” Halsey said. “It’s a place where I can maximize my potential.”


Number of minutes it took for Bishop Ireton’s three-goal lead over Good Counsel — an advantage that had lasted for three weeks after their March 30 meeting was postponed — to disappear in Tuesday night’s girls’ lacrosse showdown. No. 4 Ireton went on to win, 16-7.



Give Dillon Mullan (on Twitter: @DillonMullan) a follow and keep tabs on tonight’s Loudoun County softball showdown between Broad Run and Briar Woods. First pitch at 6 p.m.