Led by captains Rachel Gilborges, Rebecca Gilborges and Devon Keller, the women’s soccer team at Franklin Towne Charter High School won the championship in the Philadelphia Public League this fall. The victory has brought pride to the school but also to the Tacony section of the city, where Franklin Towne is located.
Head coach and 2012 Southeastern PA Soccer Association Coach Of The Year, Brianna O’Donnell, has been with the Franklin Towne soccer program for five years and has a special connection with the community and young women she coaches.
“I think the sports program is a great vehicle to bring the community together,” said O’Donnell. “The girls play at American Legion Field and throughout the season, we participate in cleanup to keep the playground beautiful.”
Senior and 2012 Southeastern PA Soccer Coaches Association All Star Team member Rachel Gilborges set a school record by scoring 83 goals over the past four years.
“We play at a local department of recreation and it’s important to us to keep our home field clean,” she said. “It’s something we are proud of as members of the community.”
In addition to coaching the girls on the field, O’Donnell has been the head of the FTC History Department for the past 10 years, where she learned the work ethic that she instills on the field.
“I’ve impressed upon them that their role as students must be fulfilled before we can compete on the field,” she said. “If I had to point to a key to our winning record, I would say it grew out of our work ethic.”
As a charter school, the FTC soccer program still faces challenges against other longstanding programs and is working hard to establish themselves as a team through alumna events and community outreach.
“Being able to compete with premier high school programs is something we are working to achieve,” said O’Donnell.
The championship winning team will continue to rise so long as the program stays filled with passionate team-members and coaches, O’Donnell said.
“I’ve been inspired by their team spirit,” said O’Donnell. “They have sacrificed their personal interests for the success of the team. Coaching has become the most rewarding part of my career.”