Brookwood’s Brahan Gamarra is the Daily Post’s boys soccer player of the year. (Staff Photo: Will Hammock)
A Brookwood soccer fan long before he wore the maroon and gold jersey, Brahan Gamarra got to see some of the program’s past talent.
He watched guys like Sean Johnson and Walker Zimmerman, both exceptional players now in Major League Soccer. He saw great teams, too.
None of those Bronco squads had won state, though. Zimmerman never won a state championship. Johnson didn’t play a pivotal role in Brookwood’s last state title — he was a freshman on the 2004 team.
But Gamarra, the Daily Post’s boys soccer player of the year, and his teammates ended that title-less streak this season. The Broncos defeated Mill Creek 2-1 in overtime for the Class AAAAAA state championship.
“Finally, it took four years,” said Gamarra, who moved to the U.S. from Peru when he was 6. “It’s awesome. It’s everything you expect. All the hard work finally paid off. It was tense. We didn’t play our best game (in the final). I think it was our worst game of the season. But I think it was faith in everything we did prior to it. It just had to happen.”
Gamarra was right in the middle of the Broncos’ championship run, fueling the attack with his creativity and playing predominantly in the central midfield. Opponents did their best to stifle the motor of the Brookwood offense, but he still managed 15 goals and 17 assists against a challenging schedule.
He finished his career earning Gwinnett Goal Club and Georgia Soccer Coaches Association AAAAAA player of the year awards, as well as making the all-region team for the fourth straight season. He is the only Bronco under head coach Danny Klinect to letter all four seasons.
“His career is one of the most illustrious in Brookwood history,” Klinect said. “He will leave as the all-time career assist leader in Brookwood history and third all-time for career point leader at Brookwood. Besides all of the personal accolades, Brahan has an incredible work rate in practice and in the games. He had the ability to turn a game in our favor and did so numerous times. His individual skills drew two or three marks at times which is why he had 17 assists to add to his 15 goals. He’s a fun kid that has a love and passion for soccer. He constantly trains and it shows by the individual awards he has received.
“I’m so glad he was able to win a state championship his senior year because he deserves to leave Brookwood with that ultimate team achievement. If you were to ask Brahan about the individual honors he’s received, he would tell you that a state title was more important to him. That’s the kind of young man he is and it speaks volumes about him personally.”
Gamarra plans to spend the summer working toward another title.
He has signed with Tyler Junior College, a Texas powerhouse in soccer with a reputation for sending talent to the nation’s top programs. Tyler finished last season No. 2 nationally after falling on penalty kicks in the match that decided the National Junior College Athletic Association champion.
“I need to get physically bigger (before college) and be fit,” said Gamarra, whose twin sister Fiorella is a star for Brookwood’s girls team. “I have to be crazy fit because I heard it’s hot over there. … It’s the best junior college in the country at developing players and getting them to the next level at Division I. And most of their players get drafted. It’s a really good program.”
Gamarra heads to college with a sense of satisfaction, earned by putting the right finishing touch on his Brookwood career. He not only got to play for his beloved Broncos, he got to hoist the state championship trophy after his final prep game.
“My favorite part (of Brookwood soccer) is playing in front of my friends,” Gamarra said. “Honestly I think Brookwood is the best place to play soccer. The environment at games, especially playoff soccer, it’s awesome. And winning the state title was awesome. I knew Brookwood hadn’t gotten a state championship in 10 years. It was the perfect way to end senior year with a championship.”