Westport soccer

Westport junior striker has the knack for scoring

Hunter Brodeur leads the Wildcats with 19 goals this season

Story and photos by Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
Posted 10/26/21

Wildcats striker Hunter Brodeur scored three goals for Westport as the team walloped Avon 9-0 last Tuesday afternoon, but multiple goal games aren't anything new. The sinewy five-foot, eight inch striker, intense on the field, has been the team's leading scorer for the past two seasons and has been money all season, leading the team in scoring with 19 goals in 10 games.

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Westport soccer

Westport junior striker has the knack for scoring

Hunter Brodeur leads the Wildcats with 19 goals this season

Posted

Wildcats striker Hunter Brodeur scored three goals for Westport as the team walloped Avon 9-0 last Tuesday afternoon, but multiple goal games aren't anything new. The sinewy five-foot, eight inch striker, intense on the field, has been the team's leading scorer for the past two seasons and has been money all season, leading the team in scoring with 19 goals in 10 games.

“I think it’s a mentality,” Brodeur said after the game. “I go out there and really just try to give it my all. The best way to increase the team’s chance of winning is to have someone score. I feel like I can go out there and give it my best shot to score.”

“Scoring goals. That’s something that we always talk about, that you can’t teach,” said Wildcats head coach Chris Parker. “Some forwards just have that gift, and Hunter’s got it.”

“Even when he plays against really good teams with excellent center backs, He’s got these little nifty moves. Foot skills, where he can gain just enough separation to put the ball in the net. And he’s got the touch. He know’s that he doesn’t have to blast it, it’s all about his placement. He usually places it where the keepers can’t get it.”

Brodeur is a multi-sport player, and while he's hot on the pitch his first love is basketball. The lightning-quick guard can drain threes, create his own shot off the dribble, press and steal the ball and drive the lane for layups. He led the Westport Basketball team in points last season.

“I’m competitive at everything I do,” Brodeur said. “I want to be the best at it.” 

His older brother Jordan helped to awaken his competitive streak, often besting him at whatever sport they were playing out in the yard.

“He would beat me around,” Brodeur said. “Jordan is older, bigger and stronger than me. He’d push me a lot. I would have to out work him a ton.”

Brodeur played junior varsity as a seventh and eighth grader and caught Coach Parker’s eye as a freshman in 2019.

“Every year a freshman makes the squad,” said Coach Parker. “I wouldn’t have thought that it would be Hunter, only because he’s not a soccer guy. But he was very athletic. His touch on the ball surprised me for a kid who doesn’t play full year soccer and he worked hard.”

The Wildcats play a press style of offense. The forwards are called upon to press the defense and cause turnovers. The team was stacked with upper class men, but Coach Parker had a hunch about the young player. 

“Hunter was willing to work and he fit well into our system,” said Coach Parker. The highly competitive Brodeur didn’t stand pat at pressing, he quickly started to score goals for the Wildcats. “I turned to assistant coach George Stelljes and said, ‘This kid has kind of got a knack for putting the ball in the net,’” Coach Parker said.

Brodeur played his way into the line and became Coach Parker’s starting striker as a sophomore. He led the team with nine goals in the Covid-shortened fall II season. “I honestly don’t think a hundred percent of the time, that it’s skill,” said Brodeur about scoring goals. “I really think it’s just me wanting it. Especially in soccer, I think that it’s me wanting it more than the defenders. I shift into a different gear, burst by the defenders and keep out hustling my opponents to get the opportunities,” said Brodeur. 

 

Practice

Brodeur is big on practice. If you drive around the back of the old junior senior high school, you may see him practicing with friends or on his own. 

“It’s usually just midday or on the weekends. I’ll text some friends and we’ll practice and play some soccer,” said Brodeur. “I practice on my own so I can increase my chances at scoring.” 

The striker specifically works on shooting drills and accuracy when practicing solo. 

“I can hit every spot that I want to on the net,” Brodeur said. “You need to be able to pinpoint certain locations in the back of the net to get it by the goalkeeper.” 

When Brodeur practices with the team Coach Parker purposely makes the forward go against the Wildcats' best center backs, Dutra-Africano and Dom Vitorino. “There’s probably not a better duo in the league,” said Coach Parker. “So, Hunter’s has to work. And it makes him better.”

“He’s battle tested. Our training sessions are very competitive. Guys are going to go against players in practice that are just as good, if not better than most of the guys they are going to compete against on game day.” 

Every good goal scorer needs a solid supporting cast. The Wildcats are strong through the middle of the field. Co-captains Jon Letendre and Nick Arruda are strong attackers and pass well through the middle, Coach Parker’s preferred style of play. Center backs Dom Vitorino and Marcos Dutra-Africano are two of the best in the division. Both are skilled defenders that are great at starting the attack. 

“We have gone direct to Hunter this year and he scored two beautiful goals, off an opponent’s corner kick,” said Coach Parker. “We defended the corner kick well. Center back Antonio Dutra-Africano took the ball and just blasted it downfield. Hunter got on his high horse, picked up the pass and scored two goals that way.” 

 

The game slows down for the gifted

“It’s his competitiveness, but it’s his calmness too,” said Coach Parker about Brodeur’s snack for scoring goals.

“I’ve had other strikers that have worked their tails off. They were highly competitive,” said Coach Parker. “But when they get the ball at their feet, it seems like their brains are racing and they don’t necessarily have control of where they are going to shoot it.” 

“Hunter can be highly competitive,” he said. “but, when he has that ball at his feet, I swear to god, his head is quiet. He can play within himself and put the ball where he wants it. The game doesn’t speed up on him. It actually slows down in his brain.” 

“You hear about some of the great athlete’s regardless of the sport,” said Coach Parker. “They say that the game slows down for them. 

He’s at that point now, when he’s got the ball at his feet, he’s just calm, cool collected, with really nice touch.” 

“He’s a gift,” said Coach Parker. “You can coach for twenty years and maybe not get a goal scorer like that.” 

Coach Parker also coach’s an upper Level club team that was sixth in the state. “Hunter’s good enough to come play for my club. He’s that good. He’s talented,” said Coach Parker. “But, It’s not his thing. Basketball is his first love.”

 

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