Coach Brendan Johnston
In line with our club’s philosophy of creating the best possible environment for our players, the selection and development of our coaching staff is of the outmost importance. We at CSC strive to provide our players with the best possible coaches to help them realize their potential not just as soccer players but as well as members of society.
Today we feature one of the best representatives of this philosophy, coach Brendan Johnston. Read on and get to know what makes Coach Johnston such an important member of our coaching staff.
When did you start playing soccer?
I have been playing soccer since I was 5.
Who was your favorite player growing up?
My favorite player growing up was Pele. He has meant so much for the game of soccer around the world…made the Brazilian National Team at 16 years old and played in his first World Cup when he was 17.
How long have you been coaching and when did you realize you wanted to coach?
I have been coaching for 17 years. I had a chance to work with Thompson Usiyan at his summer camps when I was in college. I also coached at New Berlin Eisenhower High School in Milwaukee when I was at Marquette. I really enjoyed and learned a lot from these experiences. I have been coaching ever since.
How long have you been coaching for CSC?
What is your philosophy as a coach?
I am a teacher, and coaching is teaching. I think coaching is a profession that people choose because they really enjoy it. Not all jobs are like that. I enjoy seeing players develop and mature. It is very rewarding to be part of a successful team. Coaching is an opportunity to teach valuable lessons that extend beyond the field and the game. I feel that I am always learning as a coach.
You are also a parent of 3 young ones, how do you balance being a father and a coach.
I am really enjoying it right now. I have been able to coach Owen and Caitlyn’s teams at both the rec and competitive level. It is a great opportunity to share something that I am passionate about. I am fortunate to be part of two great communities at CSC and Saints that allow me to have them hang around for the past several years. A significant part of their childhood has been spent at Pershing and Saints. The same will be true for Grace.
You won a CIF title, last season, is this the first one and what would you say was the most important aspect of your team to win the championship?
This is the 6th CIF Title for the school and the 5th since I have been coaching at Saints(1996, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2015). We also won a State Title in 2012.
This year’s team was resilient. We had a great start to the season winning our first four games. But, it was followed by a stretch of seven games without a win from the middle of December to the end of January…including a four game losing streak. I told the boys at the time that I wasn’t panicking and encouraged them to be patient as we sort things out.
The team really came together in the second round of league play. We were seeded #7 for the playoffs and beat the beat the #2, #3, and #4 seeded teams in the quarters, semis and final. The boys really stepped up and played their best when it mattered most. The final was one of our best games of the season.
Were there any CSC standouts in your championship team?
Luis Peraza was our team captain. He is a tremendous leader. In December, he broke his collarbone for the third time in two years. I was worried that he was done for the season. But, Luis was able to get back on the field for the last 5 games of league and the playoffs. Luis scored in three of the four playoff games. He scored two goals(including the game winner) in the first round of playoffs. Luis scored the goals to seal the game in both the quarter final and championship game as well. He was recognized by CIF after the game with the Sportsmanship Award for “Pursuing Victory with Honor”. He was selected to the All Western League Team. Luis has been playing for CSC for the past 10 years.
Bennett Poiset has primarily been an attacking player. In January, I moved him to center back. This was a turning point in our season. Bennett really stepped up and solidified our back line. He scored a goal in the CIF Final and was selected to the All Western League Team.
Connor Lance started in goal throughout the playoffs. He really stepped up and played with confidence in the playoffs. In the nine games that Connor started in this year, the team posted 8 wins and 1 tie.
What is the biggest difference between club and high school soccer?
There are a few differences between club and high school. One is the age difference on the field. Most teams are comprised of Juniors and seniors, however there are several sophomores and a few freshman as well. In club, the players are playing at within their own age group. In high school, the younger players have to adjust to the physicality but still rely on their technical ability to be successful.
Playing for your school adds to the intensity of the matches and creates strong rivalries as well.
As a coach, how do you manage such difference?
I have to be careful managing the age issue in high school. Once league starts, the boys are playing games twice a week. It is important to manage minutes and to be aware of the physical toll that the game can have on the younger players. Our game days are often followed by recovery days with our strength and conditioning coach. This allows the boys to take care of their body and bounce back. It helps minimize injuries as well.
What advise would you give a young coach just starting out?
I think the most important “requirement” for coaching soccer is being able to relate to your players. It does not matter how well you know the game or what you are teaching if you cannot relate to your players. A coach must be committed and have a passion for the game and for competing. As a coach, you have to understand and be comfortable with being disliked and questioned at times by players, parents, etc. This is all part of the job. You have to be confident in your decision making and have a set of core values by which you operate. A big component of this confidence is the patience to stand by your decisions and allow players and teams to develop. It is not always about coaching the technical or tactical aspects of the game. There is a lot of managing involved.
As a parent what advise would you give a parent of a young soccer player?
Let your child enjoy and learn the game…don’t worry about what the end game is right now. The most important thing for your child to know, is that you love watching them play the game. Encourage them to fight their own battles and speak up for themselves. Don’t get caught up in winning and losing…make sure that they are playing for a coach that is helping them develop as a player and fostering a love for the game. The winning will come in time.