Brantley named new girls’ soccer coach


Dean Stewart

Senior Briana Basta lines up a kick in a 2012 game.

After finishing their season as three-peat district champs, the girls’ soccer team will have two new coaches alongside returning varsity assistant coach Matt Henderson.

At the end of the season, Mr. Fleming and I sat down with Coach [Tony] De La Hoz, and throughout the conversation we just came to the mutual decision that maybe the girls’ team should go in a different direction,” said Athletics Director Kim Shepherd.

Teresa Brantley and Emma Ahlstrand were named the new coaches of the girls’ varsity soccer team.

When the word got out that the girls team needed a new coach, Teresa [Brantley] applied through connections with the one of the boys’ coaches from when they won states, Scotty Armstrong,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd announced who the new coach would be at an informational meeting where players were introduced to Brantley and Ahlstrand.

I’m very excited, of course,” she said. “West Shore is a great school, and I’ve heard wonderful things about the soccer program. I’m most looking forward to getting to know everyone. My high school soccer years are personally some of my favorite all time memories, so I want to help give that to these girls too, especially the seniors.”

Teresa Brantley grew up in Satellite Beach and played soccer for Satellite High School. She also played club soccer for Fidgi Haig at Indialantic Youth Soccer Association. Brantley then played at Florida Institute of Technology on a full scholarship. Now, Brantley coaches the U13 girls NPL/elite team at Space Coast United Soccer Club and was previously the assistant coach at Eau Gallie High School.

Emma Ahlstrand grew up in Sweden and is currently a senior at FIT. She coached and played semipro in Sweden. Now, Ahlstrand coaches U15 girls at Space Coast United Soccer Club and was previously the assistant coach at Bayside High School.

I know Emma from FIT, and we have very similar coaching philosophies. I know she will be a great addition to the coaching staff and the girls will love her,” Brantley said. “She is also a goal keeper coach, which is a great asset to the team.”

Brantley continued to explain her coaching techniques.

My coaching mindset is pretty simple. I tell every player to remember their job on the field and just focus on doing their job,” Brantley said. “If you are a forward, your job is to score goals. If you are a defender, your job is to protect your goal, and so on. If every player on the field does their job as an individual, the team will ultimately be successful. My job as a coach is to prepare every player to do their job and tie the players together to work as a team.”

Returning varsity junior Ashley Pekmezian, who has previously trained with Brantley, enjoys her training style.

A few years back she trained my club team,” Pekmezian said. “She has a good balance of hard work and fun.”

As the new coach, Brantley also brings new ideas to the table. Beginning in June, Brantley will hold optional Saturday practices for returning and prospective players on the game field on campus.

The summer practices will give me an opportunity to see the girls play and get to know them better before the season starts in the fall,” Brantley said. “They will also get to know me better as a coach.”

Pekmezian plans on attending the scheduled practices.

We haven’t done stuff over the summer like this before, so we’ll be that much better before preseason,” she said.

Varsity captain Jenna Forry also feels summer practices will benefit the team and prepare them for the upcoming season.

I think practicing over the summer will bring the team closer together and give us more chemistry for the beginning of the year,” Forry said.

As a returning player and senior, Forry also believes Brantley has a lot to offer to the team.

She’s young and relatable,” Forry said. “She also played [soccer] in college, so she can give us tips and information about applying to college.”

Other returning players are ready for a new beginning and what the future has to offer.

I’m looking forward to getting to know the new coach and hopefully win states,” said returning freshman Malia Brock.

Brantley also shares similar hopes for a successful season with the returning players.

My main goal every year is for these girls to enjoy playing the game of soccer,” Brantley said. “We will focus on growing as a team from game to game. And then obviously every team’s ultimate goal is winning games and making it through regionals and into final four.”

By Taylor Eenhuis