When Randi-Lynn Bruso was told by a coworker a message had been left asking her to call a reporter from Worcester, she initially thought it was a prank being pulled by a friend.
Later that day, her husband suggested the inquiry was legitimate and, perhaps, someone had eclipsed the all-time state scoring record of 270 points Bruso had set as a senior on the Douglas High girls’ soccer team in 2002.
So a call was made, and Bruso, during the course of a conversation from Atlanta, where she’s worked and resides for the past 12 years, was informed the record still stood.
“I mean, that’s cool,” Bruso, 35, said. “That was my senior year, too, so there were always a lot of people talking about that, which was so not important to me. I’m not a true forward, so I never cared about the numbers.
“If anything I was prouder of the assists I had. That’s what got me to the scoring record.”
Indeed, of the top five scorers in state history, Bruso, a midfielder by trade who was also deployed as a striker in high school, is the only one to have registered triple digits in assists, having tallied 100 even.
What was and remains meaningful to Bruso was the steady improvement the Tigers made individually and collectively during her six seasons as a varsity starter, during which she led Central Mass. in scoring four times, was a three-year captain, three-time T&G Super Team selection and two-time All-American.
(Bruso would have undoubtedly added to that remarkable résumé had her parents, Brian and Lynn, consented to a request from school officials to let their oldest daughter join the high school team as a sixth grader. Yeah, she was that good.)
The Tigers won 12 games and were one-and-done in postseason play during Bruso’s first two seasons. They upped the tally to 17 wins, along with claiming the Central Mass. Division 3 championship, her freshman year and, finally, went 22-0-1 and captured the first state title in program history her senior year.
“We had an awesome team,” Bruso said of a squad that included T&G D3 all-stars Ashly Kupstas and Liz Norberg, Bruso’s sister, Megan, and freshman phenom Shelby Stand. “We had been playing together for a long time at that point. My sister and I had both played (varsity) since we were in seventh grade, Elizabeth and Shelby since eighth grade.
“We had a bunch of talented athletes, I would say, and then just being able to work together. And a lot of the folks were playing travel and clubs, so we just got better, and I think that’s what you saw at the end.”
The Tigers capped an unbeaten season — the one tie was against Dual Valley Conference rival Sutton — with a 2-0 blanking of previously undefeated Marblehead in the state final at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
Bruso scored the winner and the final goal of her storied scholastic career off a right-to-box cross by Stand in the 56th minute. It was an unbelievable feeling and an unforgettable moment.
“I think there are some things you won’t forget,” Bruso said. “They had been marking me pretty heavy, and I actually didn’t play that well that game. Again, I was double-marked, and they were all over me, and I just wasn’t doing that great. But Shelby had an awesome cross, and I basically just tapped it in off a header.”
All told, the Tigers went 98-20-5 with Bruso in the lineup, including 74-8-3 the last four years for a sterling winning percentage of .888.
Success was only part of the joy Bruso derived from playing high school soccer.
“I have so many great memories from high school,” sadi Bruso, who also was a five-year starter in basketball as defensive-first guard/forward. “It was just so different than anything I had done or was doing. I was playing at such an elite level for club and (Olympic Development Program), and everything was so serious.
“And when you’re 12 years old, up until 17 when I graduated, that’s a lot. It’s a lot of pressure and commitment and discipline. I was able to kind of use high school as an escape to have fun, to truly have fun and truly make other people around me better and bring my game to the school, the community.”
The Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, Bruso then took her game to the University of Georgia, which edged out finalists Cincinnati, Connecticut, Maryland, and Penn State from among well more than a dozen scholarship offers.
Bruso detested the recruiting process and remains thankful her dad took the lead in the drawn-out process, which culminated with her classmates helping her put together pros-and-cons lists in an AP history class before she settled on the Bulldogs at the last minute.
Bruso was a four-year starter, a team captain as a senior, and, at the time, just the second player in program history to be twice named first-team All-Southeastern Conference.
She is tied for ninth in program history with 13 career assists, and of her 10 goals, four were game-winners, including the decisive strike in an upset of No. 20 Clemson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as a freshman.
“I loved Georgia; it was so fun,” Bruso said. “The SEC is just amazing, and because of Title IX, because of SEC football and basketball (revenue), it made for women’s sports to be a lot bigger and get more funding.
“I had an awesome time. We did well — I would have liked for us to do better — but I had a great experience during my four years at Georgia. I had a great run there.”
Bruso graduated with a degree in communications in 2007 and went on to play professionally for a season for the Atlanta Silverbacks in the W-League. She currently works as the recruiting manager for Atlanta-based FullStory, which uses digital analytics to helps businesses better target and serve their consumer base.
She got married three years ago, having met her husband, Joe Foor, at Georgia, where he played one season of basketball after making the team as a walk-on. However she has retained her maiden name as filling out the requisite paperwork has remained on her to-do list for quite some time now.
“Oh god, this is where my husband will be so mad,” Bruso said with a laugh.
Bruso had continued playing soccer since her stint with the Silverbacks, suiting up for a co-ed team in arguably the premier adult league in Atlanta when her decade-plus run came to an end this year.
“I’m pregnant, so I can’t play right now,” said Bruso, who will be back in Central Mass. next month to visit her parents, who still live in Douglas, and Megan, who is a mom of three and resides in East Brookfield.
The due date is in early January, and no gender reveal party needed, as it’s a boy.
—Contact Rich Garven at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @RichGarvenTG.
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