This story originally was published in BigAppleSoccer.com Nov. 16, 2013.

By Michael Lewis

It’s not every day you get a chance to create a college sports program from scratch.

Patrick Horne, who has coached several Division II and III men’s and women’s coach was charged with that task, and he didn’t hasn’t run with it, he has sprinted with it.

In only two seasons, the Brooklyn College women haven’t only become a winning side, but the Bulldogs are NCAA tournament bound. They take on Johns Hopkins University in a Division III first-round encounter in Baltimore on Saturday at 11 a.m.

To put BC’s accomplishment in proper perspective, Horne was hired as a coach on March 19, 2012. He did not have much time to piece together a team for the fall season last year.

Brooklyn College president Karen L. Gould wanted a women’s soccer program. So did Bruce Filosa, the director of recreation, intramurals & intercollegiate athletics.

“They have given it support,” Horne said, noting BC has a new pool, new basketball court and new athletic facility.

“It’s like a sports revival,” he said.

Now, a new women’s soccer team.

Horne, in turn, put in some hard work to pay back that support.

Horne, who has coached soccer at six area colleges, recruited players who lived not too far from the school. His strategy was logical. Players at such high schools as Wingate H.S., James Madison, Midwood, Abraham Lincoln, Telecommunications, among others, in Brooklyn were being overlooked by other schools and what better way than to recruit players.

“What works for me, I’m a good recruiter,” Horne said in an interview earlier this week. “I focus on the local schools in the Brooklyn area. “Top schools in the area — Fordham, LIU, Stony Brook, they don’t scrutinize the local kids.”

Added Horne: “Some of these payers are unaware they is an ODP. These girls don’t go to showcases. They play in local leagues in Brooklyn. … A lot of girls are good in high school. If they come to college with the right attitude and with the right environment, they can get better.”

So, not surprisingly, he unearthed some solid players who have acquitted themselves well at the Division III level.

“The girls cooperate,” he said. “You’re got to get the right players. The right players aren’t always the most talented players.”

Those players were good enough to capture the City University of New York Athletic Conference title behind a 3-1 triumph over a veteran College of Staten Island (16-2) side with a 15-3 mark after completing their first season at a promising 6-7-1.

Senior midfielder Shani Abrahams, a transfer from Nyack College, played college soccer for the first time as a junior last year, earning CUNYAC newcomer of the year honors. This season she scored scored 15 goals and assisted on 10 others.

Horne called Abrahams “probably the fastest girl in CUNY [soccer]. Very quick, very disciplined. Very unselfish.”

When Abrahams discovered there would be a soccer team beginning in the fall of 2012, “she really appreciated could play soccer for two years. Because of that attitude, it rubbed off.

“No one took it for granted. They were enthralled and grateful they can play soccer.”

It has been far from a one-women’s show for the Bulldogs.

Sayla Flores , a 5-2 sophomore midfielder from Telecommunications H.S., also has been the key to the attack with nine goals and 10 assists. Horne noted that Flores was MVP of the CUNYAC final.

“She our best player on the ball and a good attacker,” he said.

Freshman defender Jasmine Fermin, a Madison H.S. grad, has helped BC record 11 shutouts and allow only 11 goals. Fermin is “very quick, a very good defender, the best defender in the league,” Horne said.

Freshman goalkeeper Kimblerly Chacko enters the Johns Hopkins game with a 0.87 goals-against average.

While most of the team comes from the five boroughs, the Bulldogs have a pair of intriguing influences from outside the city — freshman forward Jordan Kerwin, who hails from LeRoy, N.Y. outside of Rochester, N.Y. who led the Bulldogs with 18 goals and six assists, and sophomore defensive midfielder Shani Nakhid-Schuster, who is from Auckland, New Zealand, has contributed four goals and four assists.

CUNYAC coaches rarely get players from outside the city.

Kerwin’s grandmother lives in Brooklyn and she wanted to experience the city life. When Horne saw what he was getting in Kerwin, he said, “You’re definitely going to play,” he said. “We’re fortunate to get Jordan.”

Nakhid-Schuster, whose Trinidad & Tobago mother attended Brooklyn College is a professor in New Zealand (her father is a native New Zealander)

“I’m sure she attracted other schools,” Horne said. “We’re fortunate to have her.”

Horne realized that it will not be an easy task to topple the sixth-ranked D-III team in the country, but there are dozens of teams that would love to be in Brooklyn’s soccer boots.

“They’re like national-international school,” Horne said. “They’ve gotten players from all over the country. So we have a big, big task in front of us.

“They’re very athletic, very skillful. One coach told me this is one team that can win the Division III championship.”

His game plan?

“I will tell the girls we have to continue to do things as we have during the season, but we have to do it more efficiently,” Horne said. “The most I can do is have the girls play compact and defend. ‘When you don’t have the ball, you’ve got to shut down the space.’

“They’re clearly a better team. They play in a top conference. That’s what you’re up against.

“We’ve had a wonderful season. I told the girls, ‘No one is picking us. Just go out and have fun.’ ”

Given what the Bulldogs have accomplished in such a short period of time, it sounds like they have had plenty of fun already.