Greg Banks ’89 was not a star on any of the three soccer teams he played for at Baylor, but he’s the only member of any Red Raider squad to be part of a World Cup championship.
A contract athletic trainer with U.S. Soccer since 2006, Greg served as the athletic trainer for the 2019 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USNWT) that won the world title this past summer. He has traveled with the team to 15 countries for over 100 international events and has helped the squad qualify for four World Cup tournaments and three Olympic Games.
Greg says serving at the 2019 World Cup was the highlight of his career. “I was the head athletic trainer in 2011 when the U.S. lost in penalty kicks to Japan in the finals, and that was an empty feeling. Winning this year was a huge rush of joy,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to be a part of some historic moments with the U.S. Women’s national team, but being part of winning the team’s fourth title and getting to hold that cup were magical.”
Greg became interested in athletic training as a Baylor eighth grader and served as a student trainer. He graduated from the College of Charleston in 1994 with a degree in physical education with an emphasis in athletic training and became a certified athletic trainer in 1996. Serving as a partner in a Charleston outpatient physical therapy company for 20 years allowed him to “moonlight” with U.S. Soccer. Along with serving as a USNWT contract athletic trainer, Greg currently is the owner of Competitive Edge Training, a Charleston sports performance and return-to-play business.
Greg, who served as a student athletic trainer from 1984-1989, said he watched and learned from Eddie Davis what it meant to serve others. “I learned what it meant to be part of something bigger than myself, to die to self, and live in a way that impacted others, and to help others excel.
“Thirty years ago, my Baylor teammates and (former coach) Mike Wiersema instilled in me a passion for soccer,” he said. “I never dreamed I would one day be at the pinnacle of the game, on the world’s biggest stage, becoming a world champion.”
Greg and his wife, Tara, have two sons, Ethan, age 18, and Brody, 12.