The Jack Of All Trades: Chatting With Brek Shea

Brek Shea was the first player born in the 90's to be capped by the senior USMNT.

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 ].

Knocks them in regardless of the position he plays.

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.

This picture captures two of Brek's goals this year. Be more dominant in the air and get more chances with the USMNT. TSG says "that shouldn't be too hard".

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.

Brek's hairstyle is more dynamic and ever-changing then Holden's, however both hairstyles tweet!

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.

25 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Crow on 2011/03/23 at 7:20 AM

    Interesting interview. I hope his coach develops him at CB because I think that is the position where he has the most potential. I don’t ever see him being an international-caliber winger.


  2. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/03/23 at 7:28 AM

    I’m always suspicious of soccer players with Dennis the Menace “hairstyles”. They’re hiding something…


  3. Looks like Brek will be playing as a CB in front of sold out crowds at Pizza Hut Park.

    He really showed well that game before the red card. Just because he was ejected does not mean that the “experiment failed.” The entire Dallas backline was comfortable on the ball. That will be an advantage for them as the season progresses and they continue to work well together.


    • Posted by dth on 2011/03/23 at 9:32 AM

      I’m glad to hear he did well. The internet was not happy with Brek Shea; I only saw a bit of the game–enough to see that red card. The red card was bad but understandable; I thought his touch was the worst aspect of the play.

      That said, will Shea get time there? John and Ihemulu are pretty excellent by MLS standards and it’s an act of faith on Hyndman’s part that Shea could eventually perform better.


      • I would expect so. With the way Dallas’ backline played last Saturday, I believe that Hyndman wants his defenders to be able to pass the ball around well. Like I said, before Shea’s red card, they had been doing well and it helped them maintain possession at times (part of the reason they were controlling the game so well).

        Ihemelu is probably the better defender and will play more if Hyndman believes Dallas will be under more defensive pressure, but I think Shea will get plenty of time at CB against teams like Chicago, Chivas, Columbus, Toronto, etc.


    • Posted by Erik the Orange on 2011/03/23 at 9:36 AM

      Sold out crowds? Kinda doubt it, although would love to see it. IMO his heading ability, as he mentioned himself, needs to improve if he truly wants to have a strong impact at CB. That said, I’m hoping he can continue to go forward…


      • Posted by John on 2011/03/23 at 9:38 AM

        Pizza Hut Park was Sold out during his first game, so yes.. he played in front of a sold out crowd.


  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/03/23 at 12:31 PM

    “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”.

    Be careful not to get a hernia when you climb down from that fence!


  5. Posted by Jake C on 2011/03/23 at 1:53 PM

    Okay, I just saw the pic that Brek posted of Dax McCarty (the Chucky one). We gotta have some kind of TSG competition to find out who’s the best(?) goofball in MLS.


  6. Posted by Nelson on 2011/03/23 at 2:12 PM

    So, left wing and CB but no LB? Is speed an issue in trying to place him at that USMNT LB?


    • Posted by nellie on 2011/03/23 at 2:33 PM

      i second mi tocayo’s sentiment – why not LB?


      • Posted by Crow on 2011/03/23 at 6:13 PM

        Good point- although i don’t really like him on the wing at all- in a forward or defensive position. Who ever decided to switch him to the wing in the first place? It doesn’t really make sense to me.


        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/03/23 at 6:17 PM

          I think he was there on the behest of his coach due to injuries in the squad. He’s a versatile player, hence being able to play in a position in a pinch.

          As a Liverpool fan, I can say that when Carragher first came into the ranks he was primarily used as a midfielder. Gerrard was mostly used in defense or as a defensive midfielder. People’s positions often evolve as their game progresses.


      • Posted by Nelson on 2011/03/23 at 8:23 PM

        y hablas espanyol tambien. que chevere!


    • Posted by Kevin on 2011/03/23 at 3:28 PM

      For whatever reason when I think of LM that could compete as LB’s I always think Robbie Rogers. He probably won’t make it internationally as a LM, but for whatever reason I want to see him tried out as a LB.


  7. Posted by Crow on 2011/03/23 at 6:17 PM

    This is completely unrelated but I had to post- I am being allowed early entrance with some AO members to hang banners (including one I had made for Decue) on Saturday for the Argentina game. What I just found out today was this- I am allowed to attend a fan forum conducted by none other than…. SUNIL GULATI!!! I was rolling on the floor laughing when I heard this. I can’t stand this guy and now I can ask him a question in person. However, I don’t want to get kicked out of the event or make AO look bad. So, in the spirit of TSG- what are some good objective questions you would like answered? I will go with the best one if I think it is better than anything that I can come up with.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/03/23 at 6:21 PM

      Crow – Jokes aside, I think it is an impressive step that Gulati is putting himself in this public forum to face questions from the fans. You don’t really see the presidents or commissioners of other federations/leagues doing that, so maybe this is the sign of changes to come?

      I would refrain from any coach related questions:)


      • Posted by Crow on 2011/03/23 at 6:26 PM

        Yeah, I figured anything referring to Klinnsmann or Bielsa or coaches or technical directors would not get a good response. I was thinking something along the lines of how the relationship will grow between the supporter groups and US Soccer. I know AO has to work really hard to get US Soccer to “trust them” or “compromise” on certain issues per an e-mail discussion I had with Korey.


    • Posted by SamT on 2011/03/23 at 7:16 PM

      After a fairly extended period of either not aggressively pursuing or else losing international players who had the option to choose USA and another country (Rossi, Subotic), we have seen a recent influx of players who have chosen the USA (Jones, Mix, Chandler). Is this just simply the way luck works sometimes, or is it the result of a more focused USMNT scouting and recruiting strategy?


  8. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/03/24 at 5:10 AM

    What [new] efforts are being made at grass roots level to ensure future US managers have a bigger and better pool of players to choose from, in order to compete with the ‘traditional powerhouses’?

    Obviously the results of this won’t be seen over night; when [approx. what year] do you expect a future US manager to be expected to benefit from this initiative?


  9. Posted by Crow on 2011/03/24 at 5:55 AM

    @GeorgeCross @SamT Thanks for your input! I like both of those questions. I will definitely consider them. It will be tough to choose one- but I figure it is good to have multiple questions ready in case someone else in the forum asks a similar question.


    • Posted by John on 2011/03/24 at 8:28 AM

      Crow, Will the US/MLS start implementing a non-pay to play based
      youth soccer structure? As it is now many kids get priced out of
      playing because of the cost of playing high level youth soccer.
      The US is the only country to have a pay to play structure to develop the youth.


  10. […] the latter, we give you Brek Shea (check out our interview with him), the lead MVP candidate with multiple positive observations in the first half body of […]


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