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Cremer jumps at opportunity to go pro

Baldwin, HPU graduate playing for one of Hungary’s top teams

Brianne Cremer, a 2014 Baldwin High School graduate, is playing professional soccer for MTK Hungaria FC in Budapest. MTK Hungaria FC has won two of the last three and seven of the last 10 titles in the Noi Liga, the top league in the country. Photo courtesy of Brianne Cremer

She’s half a world away from home, but Brianne Cremer is doing exactly what she wants to do.

Cremer, a 2014 Baldwin High School graduate, is playing professional soccer for MTK Hungaria FC in Budapest. She enjoyed a standout career at Hawaii Pacific University before graduating from there with a pre-med bachelor’s degree in biology, human and health science.

MTK Hungaria FC has won two of the last three and seven of the last 10 titles in the Noi Liga, the top league in the country. MTK plays in the top of three divisions.

“After my senior season of college, I knew that I wanted to continue playing,” Cremer wrote in an email to The Maui News. “Former head coach Gina Brewer of Hawaii Pacific University would refer me to agencies and oversea programs that would email her. There were three standout opportunities post college.

“I had an opportunity to attend a university in the U.K. to play soccer while pursuing a master’s degree, an opportunity to attend a combine in L.A. or signing with an agency called ‘Easy go to Europe.’ After communicating with Easy go to Europe, I found it to be the best fit. Everything moved quite fast after working with the agency. I was able to fly to Hungary for a one-week trial in February after MTK Hungaria F.C. had shown interest in my film.”

Cremer, a midfielder, is one of the first female professional soccer players ever from Maui.

“I am beyond grateful for this opportunity, especially being from such a small island,” Cremer wrote. “I just am glad I get to represent Hawaii here in Europe and put Maui on the map.”

Cremer has dreamed of this opportunity for some time.

“As a kid I would always say that I wanted to be a professional soccer player when I grew up, but as I got older I did find it easier to lose sight of those goals,” she wrote. “By age 11, I was playing for Excel Soccer Club on the U-12, U-14 and U-19 team, coached by Dion Ruidas and my dad. They always held high expectations and were very hard on me, but it shaped me into a very disciplined player at a young age.”

Former Baldwin coach Kawika Keator coached Cremer for her freshman and sophomore seasons with the Bears. He remembers a tough style of play despite her 5-foot-1 frame.

“I think it’s awesome for her — she always had good skill, she always had good footwork,” Keator said. “She was, like, one of the smaller girls that I’ve ever had, like one of the shortest girls, but she was always real tenacious. She would always play hard.”

Cremer was an all-around athlete for the Bears.

“My freshman year, I played volleyball, soccer and track while weight training with coach (Clifford) Pu every day,” she wrote. “By my junior year of high school, I would find it easier to lose motivation and even would question (my) ability to continue after high school due to feeling burnt out. The thing is, I just never made it an option to give up.

“I always had a dream of it being possible, but having people to help you push you past your limits shows how much it could become a reality.”

COVID-19 numbers are low in Hungary, allowing Cremer to start up pretty quickly after a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in July.

“My roommate and I worked out in our apartment for 2 hours every day, finding every possible way to keep in shape,” Cremer said,

She knows that things are tough for high school athletes in the 50th state right now with no options to play, but she offered some advice.

“To the MIL players and future all stars, my advice would be to not be afraid to put yourself out there,” Cremer wrote. “Making good decisions and sacrificing some free time to train makes a difference. Slow progress is still progress, and what you put into today will make an impact for tomorrow. Don’t lose sight on your goals, although at a time like this things may seem impossible. You just really never know what plans are in store for you.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

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