Soccer is Dr. Elise Britt's Prescription for Relaxation

John D. Homan

July 22, 2016

SAN DIEGO -  Displaying an array of quick moves, San Diego SeaLions' midfielder Elise Britt carves up opposing defenses much like an orthopedic surgeon removes debris from a damaged joint.

The veteran striker, and fledgling orthopedic surgeon, sometimes passes the ball to an open teammate. Other times she unleashes her own shot into the net for a goal. Including four times this season.

"Elise is a dynamic, tactical player," notes SeaLions head coach Jen Lalor. "She has scored a lot of goals for us these last few years, and she has set up her teammates for other goals. That versatility is important because it adds verve and unpredictability to the team’s play."

Britt is embarrassed by such praise.

"I just love to play the game," Britt says, who recently graduated medical school and has taken up her residency in orthopedics at the University of California-San Diego. "Soccer relaxes me, and helps me clear my head after so many hours with schoolwork and patients."

"I'm not sure if my medical background has made me a better soccer player," she adds. "I think it's actually the reverse. Soccer has given me an amazing outlet for any stress or burnout at work. Maybe working in orthopedic surgery -- 75 hours a week -- gives me more of an appreciation for soccer. To be able to play with such a fun group of my friends on an almost daily basis is a privilege."

The 27-year-old UCLA graduate and psychobiology major played four years of futbol with the Bruins, where she earned "Most Improved Player" honors. She joined the SeaLions in 2013 and helped them win the 2013 WPSL National Championship.

"What I take away from that championship season more than anything else was how so many people contributed to our success leading up to that final match," Britt said. "It wasn't just one player or two. It was a group effort all the way - from scorers to those who were making key tackles. That's what I will always remember."

Britt cut her teeth on soccer as a youth playing in the neighborhood with her two older brothers, David and Travis, as well as "eight or nine" of their friends.

"They kept me involved and I realized that I was going to have to pick up the pace if I wanted to play, and compete, with those older, stronger boys."

Britt said this year's SeaLions' team has the potential to make a deep playoff run.

"We have a core group of players that has been able to maintain the continuity of this franchise so that we aren't starting from scratch every year. And then we have a nice mix of first-year players, too, who should be able to make an impact. As a veteran player, I think it's important for the older players to unify the two groups, help bridge the gap if you will."

Britt said she will occasionally offer some encouraging words to younger teammates, but only when needed. "A lot of the younger girls are pretty self-directed and know what they're doing," she said. "We have good team chemistry."

A native of northern California, Britt now makes her home in San Diego. Despite her increasing medical and professional workload, she anticipates that soccer, and the SeaLions, will remain a vital part of her life. And that's an appointment the SeaLions are happy to keep.

The San Diego SeaLions ( are a non-profit 501c3 entity dedicated to fostering women's soccer coaching, playing, and business management opportunities. It’s one of the oldest and most successful women’s soccer clubs in the USA and is a charter member of the 100-team WPSL. The SeaLions play their home matches at Manchester Stadium on the campus of Cathedral High School, 5555 Del Mar Heights Road, San Diego, CA 92130.

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