From Loudoun to Pennsylvania to the major leagues, one Purcellville resident is finally realizing her dream as a professional soccer player.
Just two months ago, 2013 Woodgrove High School graduate Brittany Basinger was selected as the fifth-round draft pick to play for the Washington Spirit in the top level of American soccer for women, the National Women’s Soccer League. After just three games, however, the 22-year-old has decided to forgo the remainder of the 2018 season to pursue her lifelong dream of playing soccer abroad, as she signed with the Stjarnan Women’s Football Club in Iceland earlier this week.
“Being able to travel the world while getting paid to play soccer is such a dream for me,” she said.
Basinger’s journey to the big leagues began when she was 6 years old and just starting to play soccer. A decade later, she became the captain of her Woodgrove team and helped the school win the state championship twice. She was named the 2013 Virginia Gatorade player of the Year, making her the first in the school’s history to receive the honor.
A year before she graduated high school, Basinger also flew to Azerbaijan to compete in the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, where she was ranked as one of the top players in the tournament.
“That in itself was an incredible opportunity,” she said. “I think that’s really helped me become the person that I am.”
Once Basinger graduated from Woodgrove and college offers came flying in, she eventually decided to attend and play soccer for Penn State for the next four years. “As soon as I met the team … I knew that was the place for me,” she said.
As a freshman, Basinger competed as a member of the U.S. team that won the 2014 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Women’s U-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands, scoring one goal against Guatemala en route to the team’s championship win.
“That was so awesome,” she said. “[Caymanians] actually love soccer and everything was dedicated in their country to that tournament.”
A year later, Basinger helped her Nittany Lions team win the 2015 national championship.
“It has been an absolute joy to watch Brittany play soccer and to watch her advance through the different levels of play,” said Basinger’s mom, Jackie. “Brittany has been athletic her entire life.”
While playing soccer during the school year and sporadically at international championships was a commonplace for Basinger, taking a few months off was not. In an effort to stay warm during the summer offseason, she followed in the footsteps of a few friends and made it onto the Spirit’s reserve team. “It just worked out because it’s close to home,” she said.
Of course, making it to the pinnacle of women’s soccer in America is something Basinger might owe a little to her family genetics, in addition to a great deal of hard work and dedication. Not only did her dad play football for Salem College in West Virginia, but her brother also played football and baseball for Woodgrove. Her sister, Brooke, walked onto Liberty University’s girls’ basketball team and helped them win the Big South Championship last month.
“I’m very proud of my daughters,” said Basinger’s dad, Jeff. “Just the people that they’ve grown into, they’re just amazing young ladies – I’m just blessed.”
Basinger is now preparing for her mid-April move to Iceland to play out the 2018 season with Stjarnan, which is one of 10 teams in the Icelandic Women’s Premier Division.
“I am so incredibly excited to live in Iceland for the next seven months,” Basinger said. “I can’t wait to get started with my new team.”