Bearings Edge BiH in Grand Rapids Derby

Photo by @tofer_robo

The West Michigan Bearings are in their first season on the pitch, but a natural rival exists within the MWPL. BiH is another club located within Grand Rapids, and they serve as one of the club’s fiercest rivals.

This game means just a bit more, and you could sense that with Saturday’s crowd. After losing earlier in the year, the Bearings were looking to get revenge and shore up their position in the MWPL table.

It was a great game for the Bearings, as they emerged victorious 3-1. The first half was crucial, as the club got out to a two-goal lead. Bobby Mccaw and Ian Adams each scored within minutes of each other to give the Bearings a comfortable halftime lead.

In the second half, it was a back and forth game in terms of possession, and neither team was able to take control. Finally, with about five minutes to play, Mccaw struck again. He booted the ball from about 40 yards out toward the goal, and sandwiched it above the outstretched keeper but below the crossbar for the final goal of the evening.

With this victory, the Bearings have secured at least third place, an impressive feat in their inaugural campaign. Next weekend, the season concludes with a 1:00 PM home game against the Michigan Stars. This game will take place at South Christian. If the Bearings win, and Lansing Common fails to defeat Livonia City FC (either a draw or a loss), the Bearings could capture second place in the MWPL. Detroit City has already clinched the league title. Come out and support the club in their final game of the year!

Bearings Blank Livonia City FC, 4-0

Photo by @tofer_robo

The West Michigan Bearings returned to action on Saturday night with a lot of momentum, posting a 3-0-1 record in their previous four matches. On Saturday, Livonia City FC travelled to West Michigan, and the Bearings continued their stellar performance.

Fast offense got the Bearings out to an early lead, and they never looked back in this 4-0 victory. Bobby McCaw opened the scoring with an early goal, giving the Bearings a 1-0 edge. This lead would be extended throughout the opening half, as Derek Braak and Isaac Braak each found the back of the net.

In the second half, the Bearings once again scored early. Carter Selvius struck the ball past the keeper for the team’s fourth goal of the evening, and the club cruised to victory.

This early insurmountable lead allowed the Bearings to give minutes to younger players, as well as pairing different lineups together on the senior club.

With the victory, the Bearings now sit at 6-3-3 in MWPL play. At 21 points, they are in third in the table, trailing Detroit City FC U23 (33) and Lansing Common (22).

There are two matches left in the club’s inaugural MWPL campaign. On July 24, they travel across town to face BiH (17 points). On July 31, the season concludes with a home match against the Michigan Stars (16 points).

Bearings Return to Action With Three MWPL Matches

The West Michigan Bearings returned to action with a trio of matches this week. On Wednesday, they welcomed Lansing Common to town for their first MWPL contest. In that game, the defense was stellar in a 1-0 victory.

The Bearings started out very hot with an early goal, dominating possession throughout the first 45 minutes. In the second half, Lansing turned the tide and showed aggression but they could not score. The defense played phenomenal and Carter Selvius was a stone wall in the net, pitching a shutout.

On Saturday, the Bearings had a doubleheader of MWPL action. In the morning, they hit the road to face off against Lake St. Clair.

That opening game was a 2-2 draw. It was a very difficult pitch to play given the recent conditions. Michael Saldano and Eli Ribbe managed to find the net for the Bearings in this match.

In the evening, the Bearings squared off against the Michigan Stars. It was a historic offensive display for the club, as they captured a 6-2 victory.

The Bearings scored all six goals in the first half, a new club record. Ian Adams also made history, as he posted the first hat trick in Bearings history with a three-goal first half.

Joining him in the scoring column was Isaac Braak, Derek Braak and Jordan Hooker. This six-goal tally is also the Bearings single-game record as well.

The Bearings are now 5-3-3 on the season in MWPL play. This puts the club at 18 points on the year, good for second place on the table.

Next Saturday (July 17), the Bearings return to action with a home match against Livonia City. This will be a 4:00 kickoff at South Christian High School.

U23 Team Captures Kalamazoo Invitational Title

Though the First Team had their weekend match cancelled, the West Michigan Bearings family still had some exciting soccer to be celebrated on Sunday. The U23 team went down to Kalamazoo Riverfront Park and returned with the Kalamazoo Invitational Title.

In Group Play action over the past month, the Bearings went 3-0. They defeated Azteca FC 2-1, the Michigan Rebels 2-0, and Reign FC to advance to the Championship match against Inter Detroit.

Inter scored the first goal of Sunday’s game on a penalty kick five minutes in. Fifteen minutes later, Thomas DeVries responded with a headed from a corner to even the count.

The Bearings took a 3-1 lead after two goals by Ryan Flynn, the most impressive strike coming off a nice volley from a cross. Olee Olson would extend the halftime count to 4-1 Bearings rifling a shot past the keeper from 18 out.

In the second half, Paulo Alcala bent the ball around the keeper from outside the box to push the lead further out. Ty Morgan curled the ball above the outstretched keeper to move the game to its final 6-1 tally.

Ethan Jansen and Jackson Strabel held down the fort defensively, limiting a potent Inter attack.

Bearings Split Midweek Matches

It was a busy week for the West Michigan Bearings, as the club had a pair of matches. On Tuesday, they squared off with Detroit City FC U23 in MWPL action. They followed that up with a Friendly Match against the Grand Haven Admirals.

Tuesday’s match was a tough battle against a strong Detroit City team. DCFC entered this game with a perfect 3-0 record in MWPL play, and they cruised to their fourth victory in league play with a 3-0 shutout of the Bearings. This was the second meeting between the clubs, and they both ended with the same result and score.

DCFC scored an early goal, and their lead held at 1-0 as the teams entered halftime. After that, the teams played back-and-forth throughout the second half. In the 80th minute, DCFC turned on the jets and capitalized with a pair of late goals to put the game out of reach.

On Wednesday, the Bearings travelled to Cornerstone University for a Friendly Match against the Grand Haven Admirals. In the first half, Griffin Brusso tallied a goal to put the Bearings ahead 1-0. Early in the second half, Jordan Hooker scored to extend West Michigan’s lead to two. After a goal by the Admirals near the end of the second half by Kenzie Hughes, the Bearings responded quickly. Ethan Dewitt made a great solo effort to fire the ball past the keeper for a goal that sealed the victory for the Bearings.

The West Michigan Bearings are now 3-3-2 in MWPL play, and 1-1 in Friendly matches. After a weekend off, we will be back in action on June 27. The next match is on the road against LK St. Clair, a club that currently holds an 0-6-1 record at the bottom of the MWPL table with one point. This match will kickoff at 5:00 PM.

The Bearings’ next home match is on July 7 at 7:00 PM against Lansing Common. That match will be played at South Christian High School.

Bearings, Inter Detroit Finish in Scoreless Draw

The Bearings kicked off their seventh Midwest Professional Soccer League game on Saturday against Inter Detroit. This was the second match against Inter, as they played to a 2-2 draw back on May 2. This game, a home contest at South Christian High School also played to an even tally, a scoreless 0-0 affair.

Throughout the match, the Bearings controlled possession. They had ample opportunities to score, but they failed to convert. Though the offense was held without a goal for the second straight match, the defense played phenomenal to keep Inter Detroit off the scoreboard.

Keeper Andrew Marsh posted the second clean sheet of the year, the Bearings’ first since a 3-0 win over Lake St. Clair back on May 4.

The draw snaps a two-game point drought, and moves the Bearings’ MWPL record to 3-2-2, with 11 points. This leaves our club second in the table, two points behind the Michigan Stars (13 points).

There are two Bearings matches this week, the first on Tuesday night against Detroit City FC U23. This match is set for 7:00 PM at South Christian High School, and will be streamed live on Facebook.

West Michigan Bearings U23 Staff Announced

We are thrilled to welcome Coach Danny Brandt as the Head Coach of the West Michigan Bearings U23 team. He will be joined this summer by assistant coaches Dave Blahnik and Isaac Braak.

Coach Brandt brings a strong pedigree to the Bearings U23 side. Brandt is currently the first assistant and recruiting coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining the staff at Carnegie Mellon, he assisted Coach Dave Brandt at Hope College, helping lead the Dutchmen to a 14-3-1 record, and a final ranking of #21 in the country.

As a player, Brandt was a 2 time national champion and first team all-region player at Messiah College. He made 2 appearances with D.C. United in the MLS Reserve League, and played for Ocean City Noreasters in USL 2 and Lansing United in the NPSL.

His first assistant, Dave Blahnik, brings a breadth of experience to the WMB U23 as well. Blahnik most recently served as an assistant coach at Hope College during the 2019 season, helping lead the Hope men’s program to

Before his time at Hope, he served as head coach at Olivet Nazarene University for six seasons, where he led the Tigers to an 83-32-13 overall record, five postseason appearances, four Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championships, and two CCAC regular-season titles. He earned recognition as CCAC Coach of the Year twice (2014 and 2016) in his time at Olivet Nazarene.

Blahnik served as an assistant for Lansing United (NPSL) in 2017. He holds from the United Soccer Coaches a Premier Diploma, Director of Coaching Diploma and Goalkeeping Level III Diploma.

In his playing career at Olivet Nazarene, Blahnik was a two-time, all-conference award-winner and two-time team captain. He currently works as a national account executive for club sponsor, Die Hard Sports.  

Second assistant, Isaac Braak, is Co-Founder and Director of Business Administration for the Bearings. In his time as a player at Hope College, Braak played beneath both Coach Brandt and Coach Blahnik. Braak also earned all-MIAA honors at Hope and captained the team as a senior. He currently plays for the WMBearings men team. Braak commented on the u23 coaching selections: “I am excited to work with two coaches I so greatly admire and am thrilled for our young players to learn from them.”

We are excited to see such great leadership at the helm for the U23 boys and know this staff will provide an incredible opportunity for players to develop and compete at a high level. 

Summer ’21 Schedule Released

The Bearings are excited to announce the schedule for the 2021 summer season! With 16 quality opponents lined up, there will be plenty of opportunity for the team to show their abilities. The schedule is broken up with 8 road and 8 home matches. With a few of the road games being against teams from West Michigan, even more of the games will be played very close to home.

Ryan Woodside, Director of Operations, said after finalizing the schedule:

“We have put together a good schedule for the team. We play some strong opponents and are happy to put the best level competition against our guys. Really looking forward to seeing us perform!”

Please keep in mind that with the uncertainty of the times the schedule is subject to change. We will do our best to notify you via social media of any changes. The best place for viewing our schedule can be found here on our website.

Mark your calendars and we hope to see you at a game!

Alex Lindsey to be Assistant Coach of the Bearings

Alex joins us after a successful career as a you and collegiate player. A native of East Lansing, he grew up playing club with TNT Dynamite, making a state semi-final appearance and competing in the Midwest Regional League. He played high school soccer with East Lansing.

He began his collegiate career at Valparaiso University in Indiana for 2 seasons before transferring to Hope College for the remainder of his career. In addition to the college seasons, he played in Super-Y over the summer with Alliance FC Super 20’s.

During his college career he coached in camps at both Valpo and Hope. We asked Alex about why he chose to join the Bearings as an assistant coach for the 2021 season and he responded: “I know some of the guys from my playing days and it is exciting to get to interact with them again. I want to compete at high level while also using my role on the team to serve in the community–the Bearings will allow me to do both. I think it is a really great opportunity to coach with and learn from Dave as his assistant–I really admire him.”

Ryan Woodside, president of the Bearings and teammate to Alex at Hope College, expressed his excitement for Alex joining the staff as an assistant coach: “I am really excited to have Alex as our assistant coach this summer. I really enjoyed my time with him at Hope and think he exemplifies the goals of the Bearings. He is a very young and ambitious coach who will provide great energy and insight to the team.”

Please join us in welcoming Alex Lindsey as an assistant coach of the West Michigan Bearings for the 2021 season!

Dave Hertel as the Head Coach of the West Michigan Bearings

We are excited to announce Coach Dave Hertel as the first Head Coach of the West Michigan Bearings. Hertel comes to the Bearings with a wealth of coaching and playing experience.  

Coach Hertel served as the Technical Director for USA Soccer Club (Holland, MI), assistant coach for Hope College Men’s Soccer (2015 – 2016), assistant coach for the Calvin College Men’s Soccer team (2014), and assistant varsity coach at West Ottawa High School (2013).  

A Holland, MI native, Dave Hertel played high school soccer at Holland Christian and club with TKO and Michigan Wolves. In his senior season at Holland Christian, he set a school record with 22 goals, leading the team to the State Championship and being voted the top player in Division 2 in the process.  

Hertel began his collegiate career in 2004 at the University of Kentucky, before transferring to Michigan State University. Between 2006 and 2008, Hertel started and played every game for the Michigan State Spartans at left defensive back for Coach Joe Baum. He recorded 1 goal, 5 assists and 44 shots in his time at MSU.  

While at MSU, Hertel’s awards and accomplishments include: 

  • First Team All-Big Ten 2008 
  • Lobos Soccer Tournament All-Tournament Team 2008 
  • All Great Lakes Region NSCAA/Adidas 3rd Team 2008 
  • Big Ten All-Tournament Team 2007 
  • NCAA Tournament appearances in 2007 and 2008  
  • Invited to the 2009 Adidas/MLS Player Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

He graduated from Michigan State University in 2009 with a degree in Inter-Disciplinary Humanities.  

While in college, he played for the West Michigan Edge (2005 – 2007) and the Michigan Bucks of the USL-PDL (2009 PDL All-League team). He finished the 2009 season with the Real Maryland Monarchs of the USL Division II under Coach Anthony Hudson. 

After college, he went on to play for the Richmond Kickers of the USL (2010 – 2011), where he was named to the All-Conference 2nd Team in 2010 and beat two MLS team in the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup advancing to the semi-finals. 

Isaac Braak, Co-Founder and Director of Business Administration for the Bearings, played underneath Coach Hertel in his time as an assistant at Hope College. In response to Hertel’s addition to the Bearings, he commented: “We are very excited to have Coach Hertel as the head coach of the Bearings. Along with being a fantastic coach, he is an even better person. He fits the mission of the team perfectly; he is a highly competitive person who also has a passion for service.”

We are delighted to welcome Coach Hertel as the first head coach in our young club’s history, and we are eager to see the great strides our club can make under his leadership!