Carla Berube Excited To Add U17 World Cup To Extensive Coaching Resume
The former National Coach of the Year at Tufts University will lead the team into July’s U17 World Cup
Giving back to the game she loves so much is something coach Carla Berube has no trouble getting out of bed in the morning to do.
This summer she has the opportunity to pay it forward once again as coach of the USA Women’s U17 World Cup Team. Berube will lead a team of 12 of the best young players (17 year old and younger) in the nation into the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Minsk, Belarus, in late July, hoping to return home with a championship and fun memories those young women will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
“I think for me it’s a lot about teaching and educating both on and off the court with these young women,” Berube said. “Teaching them about leadership and how to be unselfish and how to put the team first. Those are really important. Open lines of communication is really important. It’s also on-court stuff. Toughness is one of my core values.”
Berube has 16 seasons of college head coaching experience under her belt. She has built the women’s program at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, into a Division III national powerhouse. It’s the second time in her life she has played a big part in building a perennial contender for national titles and Final Fours.
In the mid-1990s, after a standout playing career at Oxford High School in Massachusetts that included back-to-back state championships, Berube joined coach Geno Auriemma’s program at the University of Connecticut. She helped lead the Huskies to an undefeated 35-0 record and their first national championship in the 1994-95 season.
With USA Basketball, Berube participated in the U.S. Olympic Festival and won a bronze medal with the East Team in 1994. She is familiar with the pressure felt by the players to maximize the opportunity to play for their country and meet expectations. Her experience as a player who has been through a similar experience helps her relate to the women she is coaching and might help her communicate with them in a way other coaches would not.
This isn’t Berube’s first foray into coaching for USA Basketball, either. She led the U16 National Team to the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The team went undefeated at 5-0. She also previously served as a court coach for the 2016 U17 World Championship Team Trials.
“USA Basketball is just an incredible organization” Berube said in mid-May before the competition began at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to determine the 12 members of this summer’s U17 team. “I’m truly honored to be a part of it and honored to coach this summer, this under-17 team. My core values and principles are in line with USA Basketball. So I feel like it’s a great fit.
“I feel like (USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director) Carol Callan and her staff just does a tremendous job organizing all the different teams that they have from 3-on-3 to under-17 all the way up to the national team. I’m excited and looking forward to next week, looking forward to the final 12 and going on that incredible journey in July.”
Before becoming a head coach herself, Berube said her basketball mind and preferences were molded and ingrained by Auriemma first and foremost, but also by her former high school coach and Jim Jabir, whom she coached under at Providence College.
They are the voices in her head when she needs them, but that happens less and less frequently the deeper she gets into what is becoming a stellar career. Berube said she never stops learning about the game, which is part of her attraction to coaching for USA Basketball and competing against the best coaches and players from around the world.
She said her first two experiences as a coach for USA Basketball will help her better serve the players and the entire program this time around. One of the biggest challenges for any coach in this kind of environment is getting a collection of star players to sacrifice personal accomplishments for the good of the team.
“We had a 12-player roster with some really talented, smart women,” Berube said of her 2017 U16 national team. “They are young women who have been the best on their respective high school teams and AAU teams and getting them together and put away how well they’re doing personally for the greater good of the team. That was something that we had to work on, and they were amazing. The group really bought into what we were teaching them and what USA Basketball core principles were and values. It was an incredible time last June. They brought it to the court every time. I think that experience will definitely help us moving forward now to the (U17) World Cup.”