Skip to content
Be seen. Be heard.
Breanne Hatfield and Emilie Rebelo
Breanne Hatfield and Emilie Rebelo

MSU Profiles

Two paths cross, leading to success and bright futures

In May of 2011 anyone probably would have found Emilie Rebelo in the backyard of her Sacramento, Calif., home practicing shots on a goal her father set up years before, excited about the upcoming Women's World Cup. A year later and a 60-minute drive north, Breanne Hatfield would have been found getting home from practice, conversing with her parents and watching one of her favorite TV shows, "House."

Neither knew at the time where they were going to play past high school or that they would eventually be teammates on the most successful team in Minot State's history.

Rebelo came to Minot State with some help from a family friend.

"My dad had coached against Jason (Spain, MSU head women's soccer coach) at the high school level so they've known each other for a while. Someone my dad knew mentioned we should try talking to Jason," Rebelo said. "He told us where it was at and right away I said no. I didn't want to go to North Dakota, but I did a virtual tour of the school and liked it. I don't regret one second of it."

Similarly, late in her senior year of high school, Hatfield's future was up in the air.

"I never thought I was going to go to college to play soccer," Hatfield said. "I never pursued it. I applied to some colleges back home in California and was between UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. I got a call late May, and Jason was like 'Hey, wanna play college soccer?'"

With encouragement from her mother, Hatfield came to Minot to begin her freshman season with Rebelo, who had been on the team for a year already but decided to redshirt in order to spend all four seasons in the NCAA. That year, the pair would help MSU soccer become the first team in the school's history to reach the post season. This past season, they led their team back as two of just three players remaining on the 2012 squad.

"Getting back there was really hard," Rebelo said. "You have to stay at a consistent level to get there. I'd say it all comes down to heart and what team is going to want it more. This last year, the team that I was playing with was one of the hardest working teams I've been on since I've been here. Everybody just meshed really well."

Now that they completed their collegiate careers the two are moving down very different paths. NSIC All-Conference and NSCAA All-Central Region player Rebelo signed a contract with Mitchelton FC, an Australian professional soccer team, while Academic All-American Hatfield will continue her education at Minot State and beyond to eventually earn a doctorate.

Rebelo started playing soccer at the age of 4. When she was 16, she played on the Under-19 team for Portugal. She always dreamt of playing soccer professionally, although she admits she even surprised herself.

"I never thought it'd come true I guess," Rebelo said.

Hatfield's desire to practice medicine also came from a deep-rooted family connection.

"I've always wanted to go into medicine," Hatfield said. "My family has a bad gene with breast cancer. My great grandma, grandma, and aunts have all had aggressive breast cancer. Our genome is actually being studied at Stanford. So I've always been interested in medical issues."

It wasn't until her junior year when she decided to go to the chemical side of medicine rather than the medical practice. Studying to gain three Bachelor's degrees in chemistry, biology and mathematics, Hatfield plans on pursuing her doctorate in chemical biology and eventually have a career in medicinal chemistry or organic synthesis.

"Basically, I want to make drugs for your brain," Hatfield said.

Though the two held on to their goals throughout their journey, neither believed they would be where they are today without the people of Minot State.

Rebelo, who had played an offensive position on the field since she first started practicing, was moved to a defensive position in the middle of her junior year. It was a position where she would thrive and eventually be signed to play.

"It was one of those things where right away I felt comfortable playing back there," Rebelo said. "Like maybe I should've been playing it forever because it just felt natural. But I did have to put in work."

While Rebelo continues to improve her skills during her first true offseason in almost eight years, Hatfield is working on skills of her own. Skills she has used since the moment she started at Minot State.

"It's a small campus, so as a freshman I was able to do undergraduate research and started to build my resume and everything around that early," Hatfield said.

Hatfield has done research in many areas such as avascular tumor growth, the Ebola outbreak, bacteria from an industrial waste site, rapid syntheses and migration patterns of dog ticks using DNA sequencing.

She credits the MSU Science Department for her classroom success, and although she misses her family on the field, the department helped fill that role.

"The Science Department I would say is the best around. They're driven, they're close, and they want their students to succeed," Hatfield said. "I am fortunate enough to be involved in a program like that.

"Out of season I find myself interacting with the Science Club and Science Department more. I would love to play college sports my whole life, who wouldn't? But I think of it as it was so cool that I did it, and now it's time to move on to my career and do what I was supposed to."

Now, academics fuels Hatfield's competitive drive. Although she no longer plays soccer, the self-described competition addict challenges herself in other ways.

"I want the best grade in my class, I want the highest test score," Hatfield said. "I love learning and want to learn until I die, but I am competitive so when it comes to a test, it's game day and I'm going to win."

As Hatfield and Rebelo move on to their respective careers outside of Minot State, neither will forget the impact the school and the people had on them.

"As much as I loved playing midfield and loved being in the attack, I think Jason putting me at sweeper was the best decision someone's ever made," Rebelo said. "I don't think I would have been as successful or sitting in this position now had that change not happened."

"In more ways than I could have imagined, MSU has given me the experience I need to be successful," Hatfield said. "It's given me a stable environment with a close niche of family and a drive to be better."