Regent Soccer Parents Step in as Coaches; Lead Royals to First Bid to Regionals
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (December 6, 2021) – Traveling over 600 miles to serve Regent is only the tip of the iceberg of demonstrating the character of Regent soccer coaches Benjamin Brayshaw and Michael Mannix. Both have made tremendous sacrifices in leading the Regent Royals Women’s Soccer team to a successful and memorable Fall 2021 season. Not only did the team play in a regional playoffs game for the first time, but they received their first bid to regionals with showings against No. 1 and 4 seeded teams. The tremendous growth and skill seen in each player are a testament to excellent leadership.
The season began with unforeseen adjustments, leaving the young ladies on the soccer team without a coach after only five games. As fears rose of an early end to the team’s season, Brayshaw and Mannix, both parents of Royals athletes and passionate about soccer, stepped onto the field.
“These coaches have led the Regent Royals Women’s Soccer team in a successful and memorable season,” said Dr. Samuel Botta, athletic director at Regent. “They have selflessly traveled hundreds of miles and made sacrifices in their own careers to serve our athletes with excellence —we are so grateful.”
Brayshaw explained that when he heard his daughter’s team needed a coach, he felt compelled to respond in a way no one ever could have expected. He stepped away from his wealth management business in New Hampshire to serve the soccer team in Virginia Beach.
“I appreciated deeply the heart Dr. Botta has for excellence,” said Brayshaw. “It’s been humbling to see how much everyone in the department pours their life and family into the athletes here.”
Mannix balanced his role as an assistant coach with his job as a quality manager, which means he headed to his full-time job right after the team’s morning practice. Additionally, Mannix and Brayshaw shared bus drivers’ responsibility for away games. Despite the demands of coaching, their focus remained on ensuring the season continued.
“At the time, I was not sure how I would manage a full-time job and coaching the team,” Mannix explained, “but knew God would provide the strength and time. I believe God equips us throughout our lives to be able to serve others whenever we are called.”
Not only have they shown tangible acts of service for the team, but Brayshaw and Mannix also led the athletes with character and vision, understanding they were on assignment to help grow their team as Christian leaders in this world. “I believe that team sports help shape selflessness,” said Brayshaw, “and when embraced, true humility can be found. It brings an uncommon strength to an organization.”
Marelly Balentina, an athlete on Regent’s soccer team, recalled Brayshaw’s character: “The first game Coach B. coached us, he brought a sign with him that said, ‘For Him.’ He put the sign on the bench and told us that every time we looked at it, we should be reminded that whether we win or lose, we are playing for God.”
Their fall season was full of impressive showings against top-seeded teams, including an NCAA D-2 team. Yet both Brayshaw and Mannix agreed that the most rewarding aspect of coaching the Royals was their shared their passion for watching each athlete grow as an individual. They emphasized that such integrity created a community of athletes who stood out from their competition.
Brayshaw and Mannix represent the heart of Regent Athletics: to equip our athletes to compete to win while transforming them into Christian leaders who look beyond the scoreboard to change the sports world.
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About Regent University
Founded in 1978, Regent University is America’s premier Christian university with more than 11,000 students studying on its 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and online around the world. The university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in more than 150 areas of study including business, communication and the arts, counseling, cybersecurity, divinity, education, government, law, leadership, nursing, healthcare, and psychology. Regent University, ranked among top national universities (U.S. News & World Report, 2020), is one of only 23 universities nationally to receive an “A” rating for its comprehensive liberal arts core curriculum.