The Orion

Wildcat of the Year nominee: Brianna Furner

Ryan Grady

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Chico State goalkeeper Brianna Furner in a match earlier this season. Photo credit: John Domogma

If you have watched a Chico State women’s soccer game in the last four years, you have probably heard the name Furner.

Senior goalkeeper Brianna Furner has been nominated by The Orion sports staff as a candidate for Wildcat of the Year.

She is the one who stands between the goal posts in each soccer game and dares opponents to score on her. It doesn’t happen often as Furner is second in the record books for shutouts at Chico State with 27 clean sheets to date.

It’s no surprise when her numbers over the years are considered. She is one victory away from breaking the Chico State career victories record of 40. Pretty good for a player who didn’t switch to goalie until seventh grade. Furner has started at the goalie position since her first year at Chico State.

Soccer has been a part of Furner’s life since she can remember, she said.

“My parents introduced my sister to soccer at a young age and being the younger sister that I am, I wanted to do everything my sister did,” Furner said. “My parents put me in (the American Youth Soccer Organization) when I was about 4.”

Soccer runs in Furner’s family. Her sister continued playing as midfielder for San Jose State.

“I would say my biggest inspiration for soccer was my sister,” Furner said. “Her work ethic and determination was instilled in me and that’s what influenced me to play in college.”

Her sister, Shanelle Furner, said the relationship between the sisters while growing up was not competitive.

“I am happy that I have been a positive influence to where I have inspired her, but she has me surprised year after year,” her sister said. “The work that she puts in to this sport to better herself is unbelievable, and for that I am truly proud of who she has become on and off the field.”

Furner’s sister said she knew Furner was going to be good from the start of her career.

“While I was a senior in high school, she was our starting freshman goalkeeper,” her sister said. “Although she was so young, she has a presence about her and you can’t help but give her respect and trust that she is going to come up big with huge saves.”

Since attending a different school than her sister, Furner needed to find some fuel in Chico, she said. She is inspired by the girls she plays with each year, and that is the reason why she works so hard.

Furner’s bond with her teammates goes far beyond the soccer field, Furner said. It goes past the typical bonding exercises put on by teams.

“The one that stands out the most to me is when we were at Sarah’s (Anderson) house and we all hung out,” Furner said. “The upper classman put on a really funny skit along with playing really intense pingpong games.”

Furner’s career at Chico State has been successful to say the least, including breaking school records, a final four experience her freshman year and a continued journey through the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. She even notched her first All-CCAA honorable mention this year.

“Finishing my senior year in second place and making it to the CCAA tourney and hopefully further is more than I could have ever imagined for my college career,” Furner said.

Ryan Grady can be reached at [email protected] or @RyanGrady23 on Twitter.

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Wildcat of the Year nominee: Brianna Furner