COLONIE– The Shaker High School Soccer team traveled to their first State Tournament in school history last week. Michael Brehm is the head coach for the Blue Bisons and also coached basketball and lacrosse. He answered our questions just before heading to the State Tournament.
1) It has been a record-breaking year for Shaker Girls Soccer. What is different this season compared to prior ones?
Well, we have been trying to build a culture here at Shaker for the girls program …. That culture has now been in place for five years or so and the seniors, juniors and underclassmen have all bought in.
Our Shaker Soccer Program from Modified to Varsity is full of players and we have really good numbers. Getting to know the players and having coaches that all work together is a huge factor in the program’s success. This year our Seniors have been great leaders and we have girls that understand our language and things that we do.
Also a little luck goes in there too! Soccer is a funny sport, sometimes you need the ball to bounce certain ways. In the prior years, it seemed like that ball bounced left when we wanted it to bounce right!
2) You have been in the community for a while, coaching Shaker Soccer for 12 years and five as head coach. How has the community embraced the team this year?
Well I have coached longer than that … coaching Varsity Boys Basketball, JV and Freshman Basketball, Boys Lax Modified etc.
The community has always embraced the sports programs at Shaker. The Latham and Shaker communities are amazing. They are great supporters of the sports programs.
Our Athletic Department and School in general is a great supporter of the girls program. From our superintendent to the principal to the grounds crew who set up our fields, they are great.
We also give back to the community. One of the most rewarding things we do is to work with US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer). It is a recreational sports program for children and adults with intellectual, emotional, or physical disabilities offered only through local US Youth Soccer-affiliated soccer clubs.
TOPSoccer provides people with diverse abilities an opportunity to play soccer in a structured environment that is safe, fun, supportive, and inclusive. We also do work with the American Cancer Society and National Down Syndrome Society NDSS ( our Coach Jaime Durant does a ton with them and has brought the Shaker Team into this great Cause.)
3) What are some key behaviors you used to build a winning spirit at Shaker?
“We Not Me” is the key Motto that we use as a program. From the coaches to our players, It takes all of us to be good as a program.
Hard Work is something we talk about a lot as well. Then, most importantly, we want to always be representing Shaker well by being good sports and competing to the best of our ability.
Good grades are a must and we really stress that the athletes do well in the classroom. It is very hard as an athlete to practice and play everyday …. Get home and do 2-3 Hours of homework then repeat that again and again and again. I think the time management for an athlete is a tough thing, but it teaches them life lessons.
4) What are your early plans for the team goals for next year?
That’s way ahead to think about, but we hope to have the same goals every year. Some of the goals might be unrealistic but we have them and write them down. We Always want to be Healthy. We want the best grade point averages that we can get. We want to Win Suburban Council, Win Section 2, and Win a State Title.
5) What things do you like to do in the off season other than Soccer?
Well, Coaching at Latham Circle Travel (Soccer team) has been a ton of fun and we get to see the young players coming up. Coach Dan Fountain (the Shaker boys coach) and I run the girls and boys side of the travel program. But I love to go to Lake George with my wife Alison, to Fish, Boat and Swim. I love Golf but haven’t played too much lately due to knee and hip surgeries. Best of all, to visit my kids Jacklyn and Justin who are all grown up now. We miss going to their sporting events for them.