BERKLEY — It’s always been a goal for Matt Brzezinski to run his own soccer program.
After being an assistant with the Berkley High boys program the past two seasons, he got his wish and has taken the reigns of the varsity girls program.
“I’ve been playing since I was young. I played in college and have been coaching ever since I got out,” said Brzezinski, who is originally from the Jackson area and played collegiately at Albion College before graduating in 2006. He’s currently a Berkley resident.
“After being around the program, I know about the teams, the traditions, so to take over and have that knowledge and put my own stamp on things, it’s very exciting and fun times so far,” he said.
Brzezinski inherits a team with 14 players back from last season. The Bears competed in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division last year but have moved to the OAA White this time around.
Berkley won its first-ever division title in the White two years ago.
The Bears were 1-0 at press time after beating Oxford High 2-0 March 27 at home.
Brzezinski said his style focuses on defense; he’s hoping turnovers will create offensive opportunities.
He wants to get numbers around the ball and force the opposition to play quicker than it’s used to, which, hopefully, creates turnovers.
He also believes in changing up the pace, perhaps playing back for segment of the game before going into attack mode to catch the other team off-guard.
“We’ll flip a switch defensively and get in their face right away, and try to make them make a mistake in their half of the zone and go on a break,” the coach said. “You never want a team to feel comfortable in how they play. … So if we change it up and add a wrinkle, it’ll make it tough on them to decide on how to attack, and that’s the best way to break you down.”
Brzezinski said he sees the girls buying into the system and they have done a great job adjusting to the coaching staff, but ultimately, the team’s future lies with the players.
“My goals are to take them as far as they want to go. Obviously, every coach wants to win the league, the state championship, but I put that all in the hands of the girls,” he said. “If they want to win the league, which they said they do, then that’s our goal. If they want to win states, then that’s our goal. It’s their team; I’m just there facilitating and making sure it’s running smoothly for them.”
Catch the Bears against Birmingham Groves at 7 p.m. March 31 at home.