Meet UNCP Women’s Soccer Team’s Biggest Fan: Grandpa Wade J. Brown
The UNCP Soccer team will miss their biggest fan next season as senior Carly Rochelle will graduate in the spring and her grandpa will be so proud. PN photo/Trevon Knight
Over the past three years the most consistent source of encouragement for the UNCP soccer team outside of their coaching staff but definitely the loudest voice that can be heard even sometimes over the game day announcer and stadium speakers has come from Wade J. Brown.
Brown is the grandfather of redshirt junior team captain Carly Rochelle and has been in attendance for every one of the Braves’ home games at Lumbee River EMC Stadium since his granddaughter joined the program after transferring from UNC Wilmington prior to the 2016 season.
“I’m so proud of her and her morals, her athletic ability. Very proud of the type of girl (she’s become) and what she’s accomplished here at UNCP,” said Brown.
A constant staple in home crowd no matter the weather, opponent or time of day, Brown can be seen and heard loud and clear by all those within earshot of the bleachers or either side of the field as his boisterous voice can carry in similar fashion to the pregame tunes that are funneled in through the speakers during warmups.
While he is persistently loud and lively prior to, during and especially following the conclusion of a contest, he is never disrespectful to the players, coaches or parents of the Braves opponents and never utters a derogatory word towards anyone aside from the occasional official for missing or issuing a questionable call or penalty.
Brown is a veteran of the Army National Guard and served five and a half years before being medically discharged as a result of a hip injury. He has four brothers, a sister, two children and six grandchildren, including Rochelle.
“We got to do it in good spirits. I get rowdy sometimes. I get loud but not too rowdy” said Brown.
Rochelle claims that she seldomly feels any added pressure to perform at an even higher level when her grandpa is in the stands and doesn’t really get embarrassed even when he’s calling out her name and yelling his famous phrase “That’s my baby right there!”
“I always know that family is coming, and somebody is going to support. I know some people aren’t that lucky to have family up there and my Nanny and Papa come every game,” said Rochelle.
Brown has been watching his granddaughter play soccer for about 18 years since she started at the age of three and has attended every one of her home games at UNCP. He and few of her loved ones even hit the road for the entirety of the team’s playoff run that included one at home and three away.
“It means everything. I’m retired, and it means a whole lot to be able to (attend). I’m very well pleased at UNCP with coach Lars (Andersson) and Brittany (Padilla),” said Brown.