The Coast Union soccer season gets underway Saturday, Nov. 25, when both boys and girls teams take on squads of Coast Union alumni players. The girls match begins at 5 p.m. and the boys’ kicks off at 7 p.m. The annual alumni games serve as fundraisers to help defray the costs of tournaments the teams will be participating in during the upcoming season.
Both teams have new coaches for 2017. Former four-sport standout for the Broncos, Omar Catalan, is coaching the boys this season. And new Coast Union English teacher Brooklin Brumund — who also serves as drama coach — is leading the girls soccer team this year.
Catalan, who served as an assistant to head coach Luis Plasencia last season, played four years of soccer and football at Coast Union. He also played tennis for two years and played baseball his senior year. “But soccer was definitely my favorite sport,” he said in a text interview Monday November 13.
The new coach has 20 players, and eight of them are seniors. Asked who among the seniors he expects to step up and provide leadership, he replied, “All of them. They are obviously the oldest, and I need them to motivate the younger guys at all times whether they did something wrong or right.”
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Ensuring that the older players keep a “positive” approach to the soccer season will help the younger players “feel comfortable instead of being intimidated by” the older boys, Catalan explained.
Asked about the priorities a high school soccer coach establishes in preparing his team for competition, Catalan said conditioning is at the top of the list: “Since we are a small team, we will be running a lot and trying to tire the opponent out.”
But that doesn’t mean ignoring the critical skills such as ball control and shooting. All three aspects together will be part of the practice regimen, Catalan said, which will make the Broncos “that much more dangerous in game play.”
The alumni game is “definitely a test for the boys,” the coach said, not just because it’s the first game of the season, but because the alumni team will be made up of talented, experienced players who graduated from Coast Union in recent years.
“We are playing a bigger opponent” which gives the current Broncos “a different aspect” of opposition. He added, “I feel my guys this year will be ready to compete with anyone.”
Are today’s soccer players any different from the players in Catalan’s high school teams he participated with a few years ago? The competitive nature of today’s players is “almost identical,” the coach replied.
“Where I see the difference is that I see a little lack of discipline,” Catalan said. “That’s why I’m here, to change the program at least in that aspect. I want to make sure these kids are not only showing progress with me, but also in the community.”
As of this point in the preseason, Catalan said his student athletes “Have been nothing but respectful. They say, ‘Yes, Coach’ and ‘Yes, Sir.’ No one calls me by my first name, and most of them come up and thank us. So my older brother (Gustavo, who is my assistant) and I really appreciate that.”
Assistant football coach Charlie Casale, who has seen Catalan’s leadership with student athletes on the field and in the weight room, said, “He teaches fundamentals and coaches the boys in a positive manner. He will be a good coach.”
Next week: interview with girls soccer coach Brooklin Brumund.
Boys home schedule
Nov. 25 — Coast Union Alumni, 7 p.m.
Nov. 30 — Morro Bay, 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 — Santa Maria, 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 8 — Bakersfield Christian, 6 p.m.
Dec. 12 — Greenfield, 5 p.m.
Jan. 5 — Fresno Christian, 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 6 — Liberty, 1 p.m.
Jan. 16 — King City, 4 p.m.
Feb. 1 — Dunn School, 3:30 p.m.
Girls home schedule
Nov. 25 — Coast Union Alumni, 5 p.m.
Nov. 28 — Templeton, 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 2 — Marina, 10 a.m.
Dec. 5 — Orcutt Academy, 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 12 — Greenfield, 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 — Fresno Christian, 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 6 — Liberty, 11 a.m.