Originally created 06/04/06

Duff helps Greenbrier taste success



Oh yes, Brooks Duff loves him some Blue Bell ice cream.

"He can eat a bowl every day," said Andrea Duff, his mother. "His favorite is homemade vanilla. But he likes cookies and cream."

That makes sense, even though there are flashier flavors. There are also flashier players in the area than The Augusta Chronicle's 2006 All-Area Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

"Brooks stood out this year for the little things," Greenbrier coach Chip Warren said. "We had players miss games. But we could replace their scoring. We could not replace what Brooks meant to our midfield."

Other players scored more. Richmond Academy's Luigi Clendening might be the best scorer the area has seen. South Aiken senior Jamal Geathers has a blend of size and skill above Clendening. Duff's teammate, Will Dunaway, should replace Geathers as the most heralded player in the area next spring.

Those players have all the chocolate chips, hot fudge and sprinkles adorning their game.

That's not Duff. It takes vanilla to make an ice cream sundae in the same way it takes a midfield to have a strong soccer team.

"I had to be a playmaker," Duff said. "I created things moving the ball. I had to make it happen for the other players on our team."

Greenbrier (20-2) was nationally ranked this season. Duff finished with 15 goals and nine assists.

"What separates Brooks Duff from other players in the area is he's got an abundance of talent but also plays very aggressively and very hard," Evans coach Brian Killips said. "You see him go against high-caliber opponents and lesser teams the same way."

Duff's highlight was the game-winning goal against Statesboro. He also put away South Aiken with a goal and scored the winner in the quarterfinals against St. Pius from 45 yards out.

"He has no weaknesses," Warren said. "His right foot is awesome, and his left foot is very good. He can put the ball anywhere on a foot from 20 or 30 yards away."

Current Lakeside coach Dave Morgan tested him in P.E. class in elementary school. Duff was rated in the 99th percentile for his athleticism. That kind of score says he can excel at any sport.

Duff chose soccer even though his father was a professional baseball player in the New York Mets organization.

He made the choice several elite area players made several years ago. He trekked up Interstate 20 to play in the Atlanta area. He'd do homework on the way up, practice with his club and sleep on the way back.

"I wouldn't be the player I am without that," Duff said. "I'd be slower. Playing in Atlanta is the best of the state. A lot more team play. Lot more moving the ball. Everybody is faster and stronger. It really helped my game learning how to play with those guys."

Duff has received recent interest from soccer coaches at Princeton. He plans to attend summer camps at Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in pursuit of a college scholarship.

Andrea Duff played the role of soccer mother to the extreme.

"My mom played a big part," Duff said. "She drove me to those practices. It didn't bother me. It gave me a chance to sleep and get my homework done. I didn't take too much ribbing about it."

Meet Brooks Duff

Year: Junior

School: Greenbrier

Position: Midfielder

Height, Weight: 5-foot-9, 165

All-area highlights: Duff had 15 goals and nine assists at the center of the Greenbrier attack.

Favorite car: 1967 Black Ford Mustang

Favroite color: Red

Favorite dessert: Blue Bell ice cream

Favorite dream date: Jessica Simpson

Favorite movie: Dumb and Dumber

Favorite TV show: Family Guy

Favorite place to eat: Miyabi Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse

Favorite subject: Math

Favorite team: Manchester United or Barcelona

Favorite team to beat: Evans