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Toledo coach honored by organizations

02/16/2017, 12:33am EST
By By NICHOLAS PIOTROWICZ BLADE SPORTS WRITER

2 of his 4 teams claimed championships last season

A Toledo youth soccer coach recently earned national recognition from the largest soccer coaching entity in the United States.

Kirk Brazeau, the director of coaching for Toledo Celtics, a local club, won the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s 2017 boys coach of the year award following the most successful calendar year in club history.

Brazeau also earned recognition from U.S. Youth Soccer, winning the Ohio North coach of the year and the Region II coach of the year awards. Region II comprises 16 Midwestern states.

The accolades arrived following a 2016 season that saw Celtics claim a number of trophies. Brazeau coached four teams, two of which — under-15 and under-16 — won state championships.

The U-15 group won the Region II title, in the process becoming the first youth team from northwestern Ohio to qualify for the USYS national championships. They placed fifth in the country, placed a player on the Best 11 team, and qualified for the National League this season, the most prestigious league USYS offers.

Brazeau said everyone at the club was thrilled for a banner 2016, but that he never expected individual recognition.

“I sat back and I was speechless and humbled in a lot of ways, because you don't set out every day looking to get awards,” Brazeau said. “You set out every day looking to develop your kids and make an impact in their lives.”

Brazeau accepted the NSCAA coach of the year award at a reception last month in Los Angeles.

In fitting fashion, Brazeau was forced into some light training during the award ceremonies. The NSCAA ceremony ran at the same time as the USYS ceremony, and Brazeau was up for coach of the year for both organizations.

“It was kind of funny, I was running from one ballroom to another, back and forth and back and forth,” he said.

The NSCAA award was a reflection of fellow coaches’ opinions, which Brazeau said made the honor especially humbling.

“Those are your colleagues and your mentors and your teachers, and to be even nominated is awesome,” Brazeau said.

Brazeau gave credit to his family and club founder Lee Aliakbar, whom he called a mentor in his coaching career, as well as the players and parents who have dedicated so much of their time and effort to Celtics.

While Brazeau was the one to earn the recognition on a national level, he said the honor is not just for him.

“It’s very difficult for me to take the compliment because it really does take a village,” Brazeau said. “It’s more so an award for everyone who has been involved along the way. People have said, ‘Just take your moment,’ but it’s not just mine. It’s ours.”

Contact Nicholas Piotrowicz at: npiotrowicz@theblade.com, 724-6110, or on Twitter @NickPiotrowicz

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Kirk Brazeau, who is the Toledo Celtics soccer Club Director of Coaching, was voted as the NSCAA National Boys Coach of the year for 2017.

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Tag(s): High School