Brooklyn Mack wrapped up her Manitou Springs soccer career with more than a hundred goals in her prep account, but her dad, Ben, almost kept her in double digits.
Ben Mack started as an assistant coach during Brooklyn’s freshman season and wasn’t sure she was ready to be one of the team’s primary forwards at the start.
Mike Fox, then the head coach, saw things differently.
“I really lobbied not to start her,” Mack said, “and he was like ‘No, I think she’s earned the right to start.’”
It only took a handful of games for the discussion to be rendered moot.
After the Mustangs were shut out in their first three contests, Mack scored her first career goal in a win over Florence. Two games later, she had four goals and three assists in a 7-0 win.
“He just looked at me and said, ‘See? I told you,’” Ben Mack recalled.
Fox eventually stepped aside during the season to deal with an illness in his family, and by that time, Brooklyn had established herself as a player that more than belonged on the field despite her age.
She finished her freshman season with a team-high 18 goals to go with seven assists.
As a sophomore, she scored 26 times with six assists before a 29-goal, nine-assist junior campaign gave her 73 goals heading into her senior season.
As a senior, Mack, the Gazette Preps Girls’ Soccer Peak Performer of the Year, duplicated her 2017 numbers and led the Mustangs to a Class 3A Region II title and berth in the state quarterfinals.
“I’m really happy with it,” the CSU-Pueblo signee said. “But it would’ve been nice to get a little further.”
It was the second straight quarterfinal loss for the Mustangs, but Mack was instrumental in getting the team that far.
Rival St. Mary’s and eventual state champion Jefferson Academy were the only teams to keep Mack from scoring in the regular season.
She capped the regular season by scoring her 100th career goal in a 5-0 win over Colorado Springs Christian School that determined the Region II champion and helped earn Manitou Springs a first-round bye in the playoffs.
She got revenge on the Pirates by scoring the only goals in a 2-0 Round of 16 win in her final game at Manitou Springs.
“Definitely the second game against St. Mary’s,” she answered when asked if one game stood out.
“It felt really good to knock them out.”
She opened the scoring by scoring her opportunistic side. A ball that looked likely to be cleared by a St. Mary’s defender made it to Mack in the middle of the box. When the chance presented itself, she neatly settled and finished with her second touch.
She showcased her athleticism and skill in the second half. After a run down the right wing, she finished with a well-placed shot to the far post.
“To be honest, she’s not the best practice player,” her dad admitted.
“She has that ability to crank it up when the lights are on.”
Kent Denver knocked Manitou Springs out in the quarters 8-0 before going on to lose to Jefferson Academy in a shootout for the championship.
While it was a sour end to a decorated prep career for Mack, she’ll continue playing at Pueblo, where her father played on the men’s soccer team. Ben shared the sport with his daughter at a young age, and she took it from there.
“I would say he just got lucky that I liked the sport,” she said.
And Brooklyn was fortunate her dad wasn’t the decision maker when her prep career started.
“In hindsight, yeah, I think that was a real healthy and positive way for that to serendipitously happen. It’s always difficult, I think, to coach your daughter,” Ben said.
“It can be a tricky thing.”
Four state playoff appearances and 100-plus goals later, it’s safe to say the Macks figured it out.