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For the Tettemer family, Broadneck boys soccer has long been a bonding source of pride

The Tettemer brother, Zach (left) and Matt (right), have spent their entire lives around Broadneck boys soccer with their dad Sean (center), who is in his 20th year at the Annapolis school. Now, the two sons are living the dream as Bruins players.
The Tettemer brother, Zach (left) and Matt (right), have spent their entire lives around Broadneck boys soccer with their dad Sean (center), who is in his 20th year at the Annapolis school. Now, the two sons are living the dream as Bruins players. (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun)

All through their childhood, starting as toddlers, the Tettemer boys, Zach and Matt, had a sample of Christmas at the start of every school year.

With their father, Sean, the head coach of the Broadneck boys soccer team, the brothers would anxiously await the arrival of the new shirts they would get that showed off their love for Bruins soccer.

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They were prized possessions, often worn on days they got to tag along with their dad at practices and games.

For the Tettemer brothers, Zach (left) and Matt, Broadneck boys soccer has been a part of their lives since birth.
For the Tettemer brothers, Zach (left) and Matt, Broadneck boys soccer has been a part of their lives since birth. (Courtesy of Tettemer family)

As they grew older, they realized the day was coming when they would be sporting Bruins’ maroon for real — as members of the team they’ve long supported.

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Zach, now a 17-year-old senior center back who has two years on his brother, had first crack when he earned a spot on varsity as a freshman. When he received his game jersey, he was mesmerized.

“It was kind of surreal,” he said. “When I got it, the feeling was awesome. I hung it up in my locker and probably looked at it for like five minutes. It was just really cool.”

Over the same time, Sean Tettemer, a 1991 Broadneck alum now in his 20th year at the helm, was always excited for the day to come when he would look from the sideline to see his sons on the field together. Now, that time is here.

Matt, a 15-year-old sophomore, has earned playing time in the Bruins goal. Proud wife and mom, Julie, savors her view from the stands watching all three during every game.

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“My professional career and the decision to have a family were the best decisions I have ever made,” said Sean Tettemer, who also was a goalkeeper for the Bruins and went on to play at Radford University. “I’ve been able to kind of connect both of them, always bringing my kids to school and around my teams. Fortunately, I’ve always had players that I felt really good about them being around. That part of it — they’ve been at Broadneck since they were in strollers — it’s pretty cool and I appreciate the fact I was able to do go through my career raising them and having them together. That’s been really enjoyable.”

On a number of fronts, this is a special season for the Broadneck program.

Tettemer is one win away from reaching 200 for his coaching career with the Bruins, who are 3-1 and will travel to Crofton for a 5 p.m. contest today.

The Tettemer brothers, Zach (center) and Matt (right), have spent their entire lives around Broadneck boys soccer with their dad Sean (left), who is in his 20th year at the Annapolis school. Now, the two sons are living the dream as Bruins players.
The Tettemer brothers, Zach (center) and Matt (right), have spent their entire lives around Broadneck boys soccer with their dad Sean (left), who is in his 20th year at the Annapolis school. Now, the two sons are living the dream as Bruins players. (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun)

Whenever the milestone is reached, it will be accomplished with a tight-knit group of players and families. The Bruins feature 12 seniors and because many have come up through the youth soccer ranks together with the Tettemers, there’s a tighter bond.

Under Tettemer, the Bruins have won four region championships — the last coming in 2018 — and reached the state title game in 2005.

The cohesive make-up of this year’s team could forge a breakthrough as the program still seeks its first state championship. In his final high school season, Zach is soaking in each day as it comes.

“It’s definitely a special experience and I’m trying to get the most out of it because I know it’s a unique situation and really cool that we can do this as a family. It’s awesome, honestly,” he said.

“I think it’s a great way to go out and I think it’s awesome I can do it with them and we also have a great group of guys this year.”

This is the time of year when things always perk up in the Tettemer household.

When the boys were younger, Saturday mornings couldn’t come soon enough. They would jump in their dad’s car and head over to the practice at 7 a.m. They got to run all over the place, look up to and interact with the Bruins players and, most enjoyably, simply hang out with dad.

At the end of each practice, they would join in drills and be part of the closing team huddle.

The Tettemer brothers, Zach (left) and Matt, wearing Broadneck gear as babies.
The Tettemer brothers, Zach (left) and Matt, wearing Broadneck gear as babies. (Courtesy of Tettemer family)

“It’s amazing that they get to all share in that love for soccer,” said Julie, who played lacrosse and basketball and shares a love for sports. “Just watching them from when they were so little being out there having fun with Sean teaching them the importance of practicing hard, putting in the extra work and making sacrifices. They’re so close. When we sit down for dinner — even though we’re not supposed to bring soccer home — it’s there all the time. It’s great and I love it.”

For a father and son, the coach-player relationship can be delicate, but the Tettemers insist they have handled it seamlessly. Zach also has played an important big brother role as Matt gets acclimated to the varsity level.

“It’s always a unique dynamic any time you have the dad-coach relationship and the interactions I’ve seen are still the business, workmanlike approach that Sean has always brought to practice and games, and the boys just carry that out continuously,” said longtime assistant coach John Williams, a fellow Broadneck alum who has known Sean since they were in seventh grade. “But the small interactions between the three are fun to see, just the playfulness, warming up and seeing the enjoyment they are having from being a part of this team.

“It’s been a long time coming and Sean and I have talked about it for years as the kids were coming through the pipeline, and just the excitement we had going into it and to actually see it come to fruition is pretty cool to have it be done the way it’s being done. It’s a joy.”

Broadneck goalkeeper Matt Tettemer (left) is congratulated by his older brother, Zach Tettemer, after making a save in the second half during a Sept. 9 game against North County.
Broadneck goalkeeper Matt Tettemer (left) is congratulated by his older brother, Zach Tettemer, after making a save in the second half during a Sept. 9 game against North County. (Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun)

In his four years on varsity, Zach has improved each season and developed into a smooth central defender who reads the game well, consistently wins his one-on-one battles and can get the ball forward.

Matt, who was called up to varsity for the end of last year’s condensed season, is already displaying many of the ingredients needed in a quality goalkeeper — command of the penalty area, vocal leadership and fine distribution — with more hard work to be put in to reach his full potential.

His dad having played the same position has proven to be a big help that brings added motivation and fun.

“I think him playing goalie at a high level has definitely made me want to follow in his footsteps. It makes me feel like I’m him,” Matt said.

For years, River Hill coach Matt Shagogue has gladly accepted Sean’s invitation to bring the Hawks to Broadneck during the preseason for a scrimmage. He said “you can see and feel the beaming pride” Sean has for his sons.

“What I feel from the moment I step off the bus is the genuine welcome and thanks for coming,” Shagogue said. “... One of the things I love about Sean is that he treats all of his players, his sons included, the same. I consider him extremely lucky to not only have sons who play soccer, but to have the opportunity to coach them and watch them grow as young men.”

Tettemer will coach this season like all the rest — treating all his players the same. What he’s already seen from his boys, long established from all the enjoyable occasions, has him plenty proud.

“I think they both have a great deal of pride in our school and they value the time they spend with their teammates, and I think those are the important things to take away from a successful high school season,” he said. “It’s the relationships that are built and how you spend your time and what kind of goals did you set and what did you do to try to achieve those goals.”

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