UCLA Softball Star Maya Brady Praises Her Uncle Tom Brady, Calls Him a ‘Father Figure’

Maya is the daughter of Tom Brady's older sister, Maureen, a former softball star at Fresno State

<p>Tom Brady Instagram</p> Tom Brady and his niece Maya Brady

Tom Brady Instagram

Tom Brady and his niece Maya Brady

UCLA softball star Maya Brady is opening up about the "amazing" relationship she has with her uncle, seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

In a new interview with ESPN ahead of UCLA's upcoming elimination game vs. Stanford on June 9, Maya, 23, talked about Tom, 46, whom she considers, a "father figure."

The three-time All-American athlete shared with the outlet that her uncle's support helps her stay focused on the field.

"I think it takes that pressure off because I know at the end of the day if I don't meet the standards of what people think I should do, he doesn't care," Maya said of the former superstar quarterback. "To me, that's all that matters," she added.

Maya is the daughter of Tom's older sister, Maureen Brady, a former softball star at Fresno State. The athletic greatness and ultra-competitive spirit run in the family, Maya told ESPN.

Related: All About Maya Brady, Tom Brady’s Niece and Star Softball Player at UCLA

"Sports is just a huge part of our family and we're all very competitive," the back-to-back Pac 12 Player of the Year shared, adding that sports give the Brady bunch "so much joy."

<p>Katharine Lotze/Getty</p> Maya Brady #7 of the UCLA Bruins

Katharine Lotze/Getty

Maya Brady #7 of the UCLA Bruins

Related: Maya Brady Talks Her ‘Uber Competitive’ Family and ‘Making an Impact on Young Girls’ in Sports (Exclusive)

Maya continued, "Off the field, we're all very nice, sweet people. Once we get on the field, it feeds that other side of us that is super competitive."

As for carrying on the well-known surname, Maya said it's "an honor" for her. "My family is just everything to me," she told ESPN, adding that she hopes to follow in her mom's footsteps and make the U.S. softball team when the sport returns to the Olympics in 2028, after Maureen competed on the 1991 Junior Olympic team.

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In October 2023, Maya told PEOPLE about her family's competitive nature and how it translates into most of their family activities.

"It's funny, I try not to be so competitive, but I am. My family is uber-competitive. For example, if my mom is playing against one of my little cousins or something, she's still going to be super competitive, and I'm like, 'Mom, relax! He's literally 5 and it's mini-golf,'" Maya said.

<p>Katharine Lotze/Getty</p> Maya Brady #7 of the UCLA Bruins

Katharine Lotze/Getty

Maya Brady #7 of the UCLA Bruins

"I'll start playing with them and I realize I'm just as competitive as my mom. I try to not keep some things competitive, just because in softball I do get super competitive."

During a 2021 interview with The Athletic, Maya said it's "amazing" to have the support from her uncle. “It’s nice knowing what I do makes him proud.”

She continued, “I’m really grateful that he’s just so supportive of me, given the thousands of things he has to do…It’s really special to see him truly recognize the most athletic in the family.”

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