There was a point where Northshore High’s Brooke Cutura wasn’t certain her objective of playing college soccer for LSU would become reality.
She reached such a conclusion as recent as a year ago when she was enjoying a standout career, both at high school and club levels. But she inexplicably didn’t receive many recruiting overtures from the previous LSU coaching staff, a development that threatened to derail her life-long ambition.
“Growing up in Louisiana, it has always been a dream of mine to play soccer for LSU,” Cutura said. “Whatever the reason, it just didn’t seem that I was getting much attention from the past coaching staff, so my dream of playing for LSU was a bit crushed. Last summer I was convinced that I needed to have the best senior year possible and that’s where I began to shift gears.”
Cutura accomplished just that, leading Northshore to the Division I state championship in which the senior striker delivered the game-winning penalty kick in the waning moments of a second overtime for a 3-2 victory over Mandeville on Feb. 28
A month later, Cutura became the initial member of first-year LSU coach Sian Hudson’s recruiting class after issuing a commitment to join the Tigers program.
However, because of the coronavirus health scare and month-long stay-at-home order, Cutura has twice had to delay signing her national-letter-of-intent with LSU.
“Sure, I would have loved to have my signing at school with family and friends but let’s face it, that is a small price to pay for health and well-being, which I realize now is truly a blessing,” Cutura said. “We are still very uncertain as to when it (signing) will be because of COVID-19. It’s caused much pain and uncertainty for many throughout the world, even in our local community.
“I can’t speak for the world, but I can say that Louisiana people are strong and resilient. Throughout my own college recruitment process, I have experienced much uncertainty. My parents have always preached life is a blessing. Through hard work, faith, and patience great things will come. Now I get to fulfill the opportunity of a lifetime. I get to play the greatest game in the world for my dream school.”
Hudson took over LSU’s program Dec. 11 after the Tigers went 3-12-3 overall and 1-7-2 in Southeastern Conference play under interim coach Debbie Hensley.
Hudson guided Division II Colorado at Colorado Springs to unprecedented heights during her three seasons with a 52-10-2 record and three trips to the NCAA tournament.
Moreover, Hudson led CCS to a 19-2-0 record in 2019 and the program’s first No. 1 ranking during the regular season.
She’s been able to hire Laura Busby and Seb Furness as full-time assistants and the staff held their first ID camp before the COVID-19 pandemic, an event which drew Cutura and helped open the door to LSU.
“I was able to experience first-hand the work rate demanded, the skill level they are looking for, and most of all, the world class coaching/training they are introducing to Louisiana,” Cutura said the camp. “It wasn’t necessarily my plan to drag out this process all the way out into March, but God has a plan for everyone and that was his plan for me. I made multiple college visits previous to COVID-19, but once given the opportunity to play for Coach Sian at LSU there was no way I could pass it up.”
Cutura was familiar with LSU’s program at its height where her cousin Marlena Cutura was a forward on the Tigers’ SEC tournament championship team in 2018, a group that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament under then-coach Brian Lee.
“In due time,” Cutura said, “LSU can and will be successful again.”
Cutura plans to do her part, bringing a wealth of success and experience from high school and the club level where she combined to win three state championships.
Cutura was the team MVP and first team all-district during her career at Pope John Paul in Slidell, before transferring to Northshore for her final two seasons, earning first team all-district both years.
A year after helping the Panthers to the Division I state championship game, where they fell 2-1 to St. Scholastica, Cutura was a driving force in her team’s first state title since 1990 with 24 goals and added 23 assists.
“Coming into LSU’s soccer program,” said Cutura, who scored 61 goals with 68 assists in her career, “I look forward to bringing positivity, commitment and tremendous work ethic.”