STORRS, Conn. – The UConn softball team picked up a new teammate on Wednesday afternoon, as the program partnered with Team IMPACT to officially sign 11-year-old Abbie Brouker in the Shenkman Training Center.
Abbie, a native of Farmington, Conn., was joined by her parents, Eric and Kristi, as well as her 13-year-old brother Mathew, at the official press conference with head coach Jen McIntyre and the rest of the Huskies.
“To have this day finally come, we are more than excited for it…As excited as Abbie is, there is a whole team here that is ready to welcome her with open arms,” said McIntyre during the press conference.
The softball team first met Abbie almost one month ago out on the Burrill Family Field, but on Wednesday, she signed her letter of intent to become a permanent member of the UConn program.
During the press conference, McIntyre introduced Abbie as a softball lover and mentioned her favorite school subject of reading. David Ortiz and James Conner are her favorite athletes; Conner is a Pittsburgh Steelers’ tailback and cancer survivor.
Abbie will be performing in the play “Annie” in a local rendition in her hometown and also earned a bronze award as a girl scout this past summer. In addition, she plays right field in softball, her candy of choice is Hershey kisses and she wants to be a teacher when she grows up.
“We would like to thank Mary (Welker) from Team IMPACT for all of her support in this process. We are looking forward to an incredible opportunity and a lifetime commitment,” said McIntyre. “Now that Abbie is a Husky, she’s a Husky forever.”
Following the press conference, in which Abbie fielded questions from her teammates, she took to the Shenkman field and had batting practice in front of the team. She then participated in a game of kickball with her teammates.
Abbie, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, partnered with Team IMPACT – which matched her with UConn softball. Team IMPACT is a nonprofit that connects children facing chronic illnesses with college athletic teams.
UConn now has seven teams involved with Team IMPACT – softball, baseball, men’s soccer men’s ice hockey, women’s ice hockey, golf and women’s tennis.