The day started just like any other and Brittany Baxter (Timko) was getting her children ready for school. Then her phone rang. She checked the number and discovered it was Nebraska soccer coach John Walker and Nebraska executive associate athletic director Keith Zimmer. She hadn’t heard from either in a while. Walker and Zimmer informed Baxter, one of the greatest Husker soccer players in program history, that her legacy will live forever at the university now. She’s a member of the 2023 Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame.
Baxter told Greg Sharpe in a recent interview that it was a huge honor and a truly special moment to share with the both of them. She still holds Walker in high regard and credits her 12-year success in the Canadian National Team to her old head coach.
“Had I not gone to the University of Nebraska I don’t know if I would have had the international career that I had afterwards,” she said. “I think he was so instrumental in terms of seeing what was needed in my development. I go back to, he always cared more about me as a person than as a player. And that obviously affected my development as a player. But I think what John really has and values goes above and beyond other programs is that he genuinely cares about you as a person.”
The Canada-Nebraska pipeline was already high-functioning when Baxter visited Lincoln. She’d already made her international debut, appearing for the Canadian Under-19 National Team at 16. By that time, Canadian Huskers like Karina LeBlanc, Amy Walsh, Isabelle Morneau and Christine Latham were already thriving in Lincoln. She truly felt home during that unofficial visit.
“When they say there’s no place like Nebraska, it’s true,” she said. “I couldn’t really put it into words, it just felt like it was going to be a special place.”
Baxter became a three-time Big 12 Player of the Year while at Nebraska. She tallied 41 goals in 71 appearances as a Husker. One of her fondest memories from that time involved playing Portland in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The Pilots beat Nebraska 3-2 in the second round of the Portland regional at Lincoln and went on to win the national championship (a second consecutive). That Portland team not only included Christine Sinclair and Elsa Hume, two teammates on the Canadian National Team, that Pilots’ roster also included promising freshman Megan Rapinoe. Beyond that, Baxter treasured the coaching and care she received from Walker and longtime assistant coach Marty Everding.
Admittedly, Baxter hasn’t connected with those old teammates like she’d want. Life gets a little busy sometimes, she said. She just saw Selenia Iaccheli, a former teammate on the Canadian National Team and roommate at Nebraska, a few nights before. The two both live in Vancouver once again, where Baxter is originally from. There she is the technical director at Port Moody, a local soccer club that fields teams from U-2 all the way up to an over-35 program. She’s excited for her daughter, Zoe, to play for the club in the fall.
Baxter laughed with Sharpe that she hasn’t shown her kids the golden boot trophy she earned with seven goals in four games as the top scorer in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship. She scored 16 goals in 32 games on that Under-19 team before making 132 appearances on the senior national team. Baxter scored five goals in 12 years on the Canadian National Team. That spanned two World Cups and two Olympics. She was inducted into the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame last year. In the collective 12 years she spent on the national team she witnessed soccer’s growth across North America.
“It’s just gotten so much bigger and I think it’s just going to become bigger as the years go by,” Baxter said. “If you can see it, you can be it. For our current players, female players, sky is the limit once they graduate college.”
She’ll be back in Lincoln with her husband, Sean, for her induction ceremony. She’ll be properly inducted on Friday, October 27, and honored during the homecoming game against Purdue the following day. If schedules allow, she’d love to take in a Husker soccer and volleyball match during the trip. The Husker volleyball team hosts Maryland that Friday and Rutgers the next day. The soccer team would play that Sunday if the Huskers host a Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal.