Union soccer adds new program, new coaches


The Union high school soccer program will be sporting at least two new faces this season including a new girls head coach and a new coach of the fledgling boys junior varsity program.

“The school board did decide to start a boys soccer program [this season]. We will have JV soccer this spring,” Michael Bruns, Union activities director, said in a recent email about the decision to add boys soccer this year. “The obvious hope would be to eventually have a varsity program. … that will all depend on numbers and how this spring goes.”

Since at least 2006, Union shared a soccer program with Class 2A Hudson but the agreement was ended last fall by Hudson more than likely in an attempt to drop a class to 1A, per Union Supt. John Howard during the Oct. 17 school board meeting.

The new coach of the boys team is Matt Brustkern and the new girls coach is John Simon.

Both have extensive experience coaching soccer, however, this will be their first year coaching for Union.

Thank you to the Union Booster Club for the following ‘spring sports spotlights.’

Matt Brustkern, Boys Soccer

Tell us about your coaching background.

“First year coaching at Union. Fifteen years coaching youth soccer. Ten years leading the La Porte City Soccer Club.”

What draws you to coaching?

“My kids have always liked playing soccer. I have wanted to support them as I feel it provides excellent team building and requires a high degree of physical wellness.”

Tell us about yourself.

“I have been married to my wife Jennifer for 22 years and we have three boys, Kyle and Landon that have graduated from Union, and the third, Hunter, is in his freshman year at Union. I enjoy spending my free time with a lot of outdoor activities including gardening, riding ATVs, and kayaking.”

What’s your favorite coaching memory?

“My favorite part of being involved in soccer over the years is meeting and getting to know several great people from the community.”

John Simon, Girls Soccer

Tell us about your coaching background.

“First year coaching at Union. Played or coached soccer for 20+ years.”

What draws you to coaching?

“I love being part of the process of developing a student/athlete. I enjoy seeing players grow and develop on and off the field. Watching the player(s) improve their skills and confidence. I get most excited when athletes go out of their comfort zone and do something he/she didn’t think they could do. I was fortunate to have great coaches in a variety of sports at all levels growing up and I know the positive impact they had on me. My goal is to give back in whatever capacity that I can and be a positive influence.”

Tell us about yourself.

“Currently living in Waterloo with my fiancée (Summer), step-son (Briar, 10th grade), step-daughter (Hinley, 8th grade), daughter (Nova, 4 years). Most of my free time is spent going to sporting events [including] football, wrestling, soccer, volleyball. Nova wants to be involved in gymnastics, so that will be added to the list soon. Going to the gym, working out and being healthy and active is a big part of our family so we try and incorporate that into our daily lives. Once it warms up, I enjoy doing yard work or other projects around the house that involve being outside. I also enjoy hunting and fishing when we can fit that into the schedule.”

What’s your favorite coaching memory?

“I’ve coached my stepdaughter’s soccer team from U9 through U15. My favorite memory has just been the entire journey with those girls throughout the years to where they are now. They step on a field now and they expect to win with all the confidence and skills to back.”