Former Brookland-Cayce soccer coaches faring well in their new jobs
Life is good right now for some former Brookland-Cayce soccer coaches.
A year ago, Kevin Heise of Gray Collegiate Academy and Robby Seltzer of Gilbert were embattled head coaches at Brookland-Cayce High School. Heise was placed on administrative leave following a school incident and his brother-in-law Seltzer had to deal with the pressures of serving as interim head coach. Emily Heise, Kevin’s wife, was coaching the girls at Brookland-Cayce. She took her team to the state championship final.
A year later, their lives are going rather seamlessly.
Heise and his wife, Lady War Eagles’ head soccer coach Emily, are still basking in the glow of a newborn daughter Mia McCall, born March 28.
“She is beautiful and is already being spoiled,” Heise said. “It probably is pretty fitting that we start our new chapter at GCA with the birth of our first child. Seems natural and just right.”
This comes on the heels of both Heises leading their respective teams to first-ever region titles. Kevin Heise’s War Eagles have also held the number-one spot in the High School Soccer rankings for Class 2A for much of the season.
As for Seltzer, his first season at Gilbert finds the Indians riding an undefeated record in Region 5-3A. On Friday, he returns to his alma mater and “Fort Knox” for a matchup which could bring them closer to a region title.
“A year ago, I wasn’t really familiar with the Gilbert boy’s soccer program,” he said. “I knew they had a few good players and could possibly beat us (at the time, Brookland-Cayce), but didn’t know any specifics about their team as a whole. To simply put it, I knew they were in our region and we needed to beat them to accomplish our goal at the time last year, a region championship.”
Both coaches are certainly happy with the “new birth” they’ve received at their new locations.
“I cannot say enough about the support from our administration in Principal Dr. Brian Newsome and Athletics Director Adam Holmes,” he said. “Along with instrumental assistant ADs Howie Bayer and Brett Bethune, they have made our transition smooth and welcoming.
“They’ve allowed us to treat our student-athletes in a first-class manner from their uniforms, training gear, facility rentals, and the opportunity to play at eight college venues this spring which is unprecedented in S.C. prep soccer. They really want every athletic program to be successful and have given us the tools to do so.”
“Gilbert has given me an opportunity to create something of my own,” Seltzer said. “As you are aware, I was put into an unfortunate situation last year while at Brookland-Cayce and to the best of my ability had to coach or manage a group of players that played for Kevin Heise. I was intimidated by having to try and live up to his standards and unreal coaching ability, not to mention he is my brother in-law.
“But, Gilbert has allowed me to have my hand on everything dealing with our boy’s soccer program. Of course, I use a lot of what I have learned from Kevin over the last 15 years of playing/coaching with him, but this is completely mine. I love the kids in our program and hope to do special things here. I’m completely committed to our school and am attempting to lay the foundation for what I hope will lead to region Championships and deep runs in the playoffs.
“But, mostly I want to give the student athletes at Gilbert the same opportunities that soccer gave me as a young man. Wins are great but helping a young boy develop into a young man is what I enjoy most about coaching at Gilbert High School.
Having standout talent has also benefited Heise and Seltzer. Gray Collegiate’s Spencer Ayen leads the Midlands in scoring and Gilbert’s Angel Barazza has had a penchant for “hat tricks”, scoring three goals a game.
“Spencer Ayen is truly a once-a-decade type player,” Heise said. “I put him as far as overall soccer ability and prowess among the top 3-4 players I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. He has a true professional attitude towards his training and preparation. He leads by example every day.
“He’s been away from high school soccer since his freshman year, playing in the club Development Academy circuit the last two years, but has really been a good teammate to this group of players at Gray.”
“Angel is a heck of a player and young man,” Seltzer said. “His leadership qualities are what I appreciate most about him. I’ve known and coached plenty of players who have tons of talent, but Angel has those qualities and the qualities of a natural leader and teammate.
“His ability to finish is definitely an attribute that separates him from other high school players. A lot of soccer players at the high school level know how to shoot and may score a lot of goals for their respective schools, but Angel has a knack of being able to finish especially when under pressure. His stature and pace also are qualities that have set him a part from other forwards I’ve had the chance to see this spring.”
Regardless of the location and new parental duties, don’t expect Heise to change his approach.
“I don’t know if it will change me,” he said about fatherhood. “Tigers don’t change their stripes and I don’t anticipate being much different in this new role. However, I do want to be a great father and making time for our family will be a bit more of an adjustment. But, I’m looking forward to it.”