July 12, 2011
Each weekday in the month of July, MGoBlue.com will feature an interview with a U-M head coach. Men's soccer leader Steve Burns sat down for his MGoBlue.com Summer Session, talking summer ball, delivering papers, vacationing in Canada, and excitement for next season.
What makes the summer in men's soccer so unique?
For our players, summer is a continuation of their training. They get a few weeks off to focus on their final exams in April, then their seasons start up for their respective men's amateur teams. We're helping them get placed on some of the best teams in the state, in the Midwest and around the country. There's a league called the Premier Development League (PDL), and we're fortunate to have one of the best teams in our backyard in the Michigan Bucks. We're allowed to have five of our guys go on that team. We do a good job of helping them get placed on these teams, so that they are training at a high level all summer long.
Why are the summer months so important to the development of your team?
Development means getting games, and good games, not games where you're just killing teams and developing bad habits. What we have that's unique to soccer is the PDL. It's vitally important because our preseason is so short. It starts in the middle of August and our season starts in late August, so if they aren't coming into the season fit and in match form, then we're wasting vital time.
What do you see as the team's biggest strength heading into next season?
We're returning a very strong core from a team that went to the College Cup. We've got great goalkeeping, the backbone of our defense, and all of our midfield. That's the strength, those returning players. We did lose a lot of goal scoring, but we've done a good job recruiting to get a lot of that back in place. For us, it's just a matter of melding those two together as quick as possible.
What was your first summer job? And where?
I delivered the Detroit Free Press from sixth grade through high school. That was an every day, seven-day-a-week, six o'clock in the morning job. While I can go back and say that I washed dishes at this place or did food service at that one, I truly think of that as my first job. Talk about developing a good work ethic!
Do you or did you have any special travel plans this summer?
There are two things that I have going this summer with my family. Obviously a lot of recruiting going on, but in early July, we're going to Camp Michigania, which is up near Petoskey in Walloon Lake. I'm a guest lecturer at the camp, so it'll be a working vacation for me, but I'll get to take my family, and that'll be great. Then a week before our season begins is my chance to get away and recharge the battery. My mother-in-law has a place in northern Ontario near Wawa -- no electricity, no cell phone service, no e-mails. It's truly that chance to get away from everything, and be with family, and be ready for the season.
Tell us one unique thing you've done since the season ended?
It was interesting in that I was planning on training and running a marathon this spring. The timing was such that everything was in place -- great team, great season, great team coming back and a great recruiting class in place -- but I've barely been able to get out and run period, and that marathon is now off the table. Team-wise, we had two assistant coaches who were hired away for other jobs, so that was certainly new for us, and we had a couple incoming recruits that chose to not go to Michigan and instead play professionally in Germany and Norway. We had to work extra hard to fill some of those holes that success breeds, and so in order to expect more success, you have to work equally as hard, if not harder, to get there.
Past MGoBlue.com Summer Sessions
Head Women's Cross Country Coach Mike McGuire (July 11)
Head Men's Cross Country Coach Alex Gibby (July 11)
Head Women's Soccer Coach Greg Ryan (July 8)
Head Men's Tennis Coach Bruce Berque (July 7)
Head Men's Track & Field Coach Fred LaPlante (July 6)
Head Water Polo Coach Matt Anderson (July 5)
Head Men's Swimming & Diving Coach Mike Bottom (July 1)