When Detroit City FC fans arrive at Cass Tech, Bret Mollon (Temple) is one of the most recognizable figures. His neon green jersey radiates the northern penalty box, and as his teammates pound shot after shot his direction during warm-ups, City’s go-to goalkeeper flies between the pipes.
Mollon’s commanding presence behind the defensive line has earned him the starting job for Le Rouge for the past few summers, but when he isn’t shutting down NPSL forwards, the Washington, Mich. native has another job.
Since August of 2013, Mollon has been an assistant coach at Coastal Carolina University (CCU). After his first season for DCFC, Mollon began his coaching career for the Chanticleer men’s and women’s programs. When he played in the Premier Development League, prior to joining Le Rouge, one of Mollon’s friends was an assistant at CCU, and invited him down to Myrtle Beach. Soon after, Mollon became Coastal’s goalkeeper coach.
Already a top-notch keeper, Mollon has found that his experience as a coach advances his game even further.
“It helps me get a lot better just sitting through all the meetings with the coaches, organizing practices, going through film, and realizing formations,” Mollon said. “It’s helped me transition between a coach and a player.”
In his third season with Le Rouge, Mollon is a leader on the team. His duties in Detroit might not be the same as his job at Coastal, but both positions compliment each other well. When he isn’t instructing college athletes, he’s on the field with them, since many DCFC players are either still in school or just recently out.
Mollon, himself, is only a few years out of school, and the minimal age gap between him and his student-athletes is one reason he believes he can be so successful.
“I think that’s one of the good things about the coaching staff down there is that we’re so young,” Mollon said. “The other assistant there was in Major League Soccer with Chivas United in Los Angeles, so he’s been around the block. We’re young guys, and we know what its like to go through trainings. We understand the fatigue that sets in with different drills.”
A typical day for a CCU soccer player is a little different than most Division 1 schools, but it keeps Mollon busy. The Chanticleers hold two practices a day, with the first session lasting an hour from 10:00 to 11:00 in the morning. After the students go to class, they come back out later in the afternoon for an hour-and-a-half long practice.
“The first is a quick hour, which is pretty technical, just to keep the guys focused,” Mollon said. “Then we take a break, the students go to classes, and we’re back at 3:00 p.m. That one is usually more of eleven-versus-eleven with bigger numbers. It’s good. It’s sharp.”
Even though he isn’t listed as a coach for DCFC, leading sessions during practice is something he’s become accustomed to. Thursday evening, before the team’s trip to Minnesota, Mollon was in charge as five different keepers rotated through one of the team’s drills.
When more goalkeepers are at practice, assistant coach Colby Cunningham will help out by splitting the groups up, but otherwise Mollon is at the helm. He’ll lead the same drills that he does down at Coastal, but there is one difference. Up here in Detroit, he gets to jump in and play.
“I like what I’m doing right now, being able to coach and play,” Mollon said. “Coastal has been kind enough to let me come back up here in the summer. I’d like to eventually become a head coach, so I’m working towards that by just getting my licenses and making as many connections as I can.”
Bret Mollon’s coaching career is just beginning, and with his substantial skillset paired with his affluent knowledge for the game, it has a bright future.
– Ted Janes / DCFC Staff Writer