TSG got the opportunity to catch up with Brek Shea right before the beginning of the season. In Brek’s short career he has played striker, midfielder and defender and has played every position well. He must be a coaches dream, as he doesn’t complain, and just goes out, plays as hard as he can, and does what is asked for him.
Here is our conversation before their last pre-season game.
TSG: Okay, first question. Are you going to be okay now that Heath Pearce is no longer in Dallas? Or perhaps better question: Is Dallas a safer place?
Brek Shea: I don’t know man. He brought a lot of fun stuff and I’m going to miss him. I’m pretty jealous he’s going to be out in California which sounds pretty sweet, especially with non-soccer related stuff.
TSG: Alfonso Mondelo, the MLS technical director, said you impressed scouts on the Generation Adidas trip to Spain, but you impressed them in central defense though?! What is your ideal position? Where do you prefer to play?
Brek Shea: I don’t know. I’ve had to play center back because there has been a shortage of people and injuries, so coach asked me to play there, and I have to do what he asks. I don’t know if I have an ideal position. A lot of people like me at center back and a lot of people like me as a left midfielder. I don’t really have a preferred position so whatever the boss asks of me I’ll do.
TSG: So where do you see yourself playing 5 years from?
Brek Shea: Well it all depends on what I play this season. If I play left mid this season, then I’ll probably play left mid for the rest of my career. If he (coach) switches me to center back, then I will probably be playing center back.
TSG: You’ve played striker, forward, winger, and defender over the past 5 years. Any interest in playing goalie?
Brek Shea: I did start off as a goalie when I was young. I would get mad when we got scored on, so I would go up to our goalie and say “hey let me play goalie”. [ TSG throws in some sort of pun about how it is good to take things into your own hands. Brek chuckles ].
TSG: You’ve graduated from the Generation Adidas program. Can you tell us about your experience with this program?
Brek Shea: It’s a great program for young people and for young athletes coming into MLS. They help you out, they give you a chance to go to school, and they hook you up with some really great opportunities.
TSG: Getting back to Heath’s departure. The team let both Pearce and Dax McCarty go in the re-allocation draft and in the process got younger, but arguably less experienced? Who are the main leaders now and who will need to pick up the slack?
Brek Shea: Our captain (Daniel Hernandez) and Kevin (Hartman) are two main veterans on the team and they do a pretty good job, but I think everyone needs to pick it up. We have some new guys and a lot of youth guys that came up, so everyone needs to take it in their own hands to be responsible.
TSG: Do you see yourself taking on more of a leadership role?
Brek Shea: Well I’m not a very big vocal leader, but I hope I can show some leadership by playing well. I like a lot of the younger guys and I hang out with them as well, so that they can feel like they can come up to me if they need anything, or talk to me about stuff that they might be scared to with the older guys.
TSG: You went to Bob Bradley’s January camp this year after featuring in an October friendly against Colombia. First, what skills did you improve on in the camp and 2nd, tell us a little bit about the differences in training and game preparation between Schylles Hyndman and Bob Bradley?
Brek Shea: When I was there, they really wanted me to work on coming inside, instead of just being out on the touchline. They asked me to come inside and get the ball and run at the players, instead of being out wide and going around players. They wanted me to come in, so I could get shots off, and that really helped with my game. I was really thankful for that.
We had the whole month to prepare for one game with Bob. It was mostly about getting back in shape and learning and dealing with his style of play. They are different guys and they go about things differently.
TSG: What skills do you want to work on and improve upon this year?
Brek Shea: Well one of the big things I want to work on is my heading. I’m one of the bigger guys out there and my heading hasn’t been the best in the past, so I want to come in this year and win a lot of headers and score a lot more goals with my head. I also want to work on everything. Obviously my left foot is more technical than my right and I want to get it up to speed.
TSG: Last year, the media was reluctant to place a “favorite” tag on FC Dallas as the team was undefeated for major stretches in the season, but those matches were draws instead of wins. How do you feel about being a “favorite” this year and teams gunning for FC Dallas?
Brek Shea: I kind of like the pressure. Last year, even up to the final we were the underdogs, and I think this year people will have more respect for us. To be honest, I like it because each game will be a hard game and those games are always fun.
TSG: Dallas season tickets are up 300% on the year. That’s good, however Pizza Hut park still has a ways to go, or rather attendance has a ways to go before the park fills up. Is it difficult playing at home in front of half empty stadiums?
Brek Shea: Well as a player you definitely hope it will be more packed and louder than last year. You can only expect what you had the week before, so we never expected the big crowds, but as you said sales are up, so hopefully we’ll have a good loud crowd to play for.
TSG: You’ve been having a fantastic pre-season. Obviously your team goals are to win the MLS cup. Any specific personal goals for the season?
Brek Shea: Well, I would like to get more chances with the national team and I want to do bigger and better things than last year, like score more goals, get more assists and play with more consistency.
TSG: Describe what it’s like playing with a true #10 in David Ferreira?
Brek Shea: Well obviously he played very well last year and was MVP of the league. It’s great cause every time we are in trouble we can find him and he relieves tons of pressure from the rest of us. He is someone you can always rely on to keep the ball, to keep possession and can find the right angles and passes to create the offense.
TSG: What are your long-term plans? Do you have plans to try and make it in Europe? What’s a good destination league or team for you?
Brek Shea: Well as a soccer player my goals are to play in Europe, but as of right now I’m focused on this season. Hopefully in the future when the time is right, I will play in Europe, but who knows when that will be. I would like to play in one of the big leagues and hopefully I can focus on doing and improving on what I do every day so that I can get there eventually.
TSG: We recently did an interview with Brandon Zimmerman. How do you feel about him as a player?
Brek Shea: [Perks up]. Brandon Zimmerman. He’s one of my good friends. I love playing with him. I would call him a traditional “English style player”, who wins the ball and dishes it out and crushes everyone as he runs past them. To be honest, I like the way he plays. He inspires you to play hard when you play with him, because he lets everyone know that it’s “game time”.
TSG: So both yours and Stuart Holden’s hair have twitter accounts. Whose hair is better?
Brek Shea: To be honest, Stuart’s always stays the same, where as mine changes every once in a while. I get a little more flair with the change, but I don’t know…
TSG: Well good luck with the upcoming season.
Brek Shea: Thank you very much.