Late in April 2015, The Mighty Oak kicked off their inaugural season at Pioneer High School’s Hollway Field. There was excitement from the players, a buzz in the community but still a lot of unknowns and firsts that the club would experience.
One of those firsts came that evening when Plymouth native, Kyle Breitmeyer netted the club’s first goal ever in front of 2,000 plus fans.
One of those unknowns became quite clear as well, when Breitmeyer made it apparent he would lead the club’s offensive charge.
He ended the 2015 season earning the club’s golden boot and to this day holds the record for most career goals with AFC Ann Arbor.
With the coaching change and league change that took place in 2016, Breitmeyer left to join another club, unclear about his future in Ann Arbor. But he kept a close watch on what was happening with his former club, and in the spring of 2016 he was introduced to Head Coach and Sporting Director Eric Rudland.
The two stayed in touch and Rudland felt that Breitmeyer would fit in well with plans for 2017.
Breitmeyer not only brings a great deal of experience and offensive talent, but also a hardworking mentality that is fueled by the desire to win.
When asked how he feels about returning to Ann Arbor, Breitmeyer said, “I’m happy that I get to come back to Ann Arbor and hopefully those fans I had will be happy to see me back on the field. That was always special for me when I got to hear about the young fans that loved watching me play and wanted to meet me after the games.”
Read the full interview with Kyle below:
AFC: How does it feel to be returning to The Mighty Oak, a team you were the leading goal scorer for, only two years removed?
Kyle: It’s exciting. This club has only improved since my time here and to be able to get a shot to play for such a cool organization once again is amazing. I’m happy to have this chance to play and I know that I’ve improved as a played and I’m excited to see everything come together and to help this club continue on their improvements.
AFC: You're coming back to a new coach, a higher league and a very competitive Great Lakes Division. What are you most excited for? How are you preparing for this level of competition?
Kyle: I’m excited for the challenge. I think the first year had some interesting tests with Ann Arbor but this is a new monster. I don’t have a ton of experience with the NPSL but it’s a level I’m capable of playing at and to bring my skill set to a team that has already had great success at this level should be a good combination. I’m excited to work with Eric Rudland. I’ve only met him a few times but I think he’ll help me grow as a player. From here, it’s all about getting mind and body ready to play for that first game. This level isn’t easy. We have a lot of great players in the division and on our team so I’m doing my best to make sure that I’m in the best shape I can be in order to make an impact from the very first practice with the team.
AFC: In just a short time with AFC, you gained a pretty big following. How excited are you to know you'll be playing for those fans once again?
Kyle: I’m happy that I get to come back to Ann Arbor and hopefully those fans that I did have will be happy to see me back on the field. That was always special for me when I got to hear about the young fans that loved watching me play and wanted to meet me after the games.
AFC: You had a memorable first year in Ann Arbor in 2015. What was your favorite moment of that season?
Kyle: The coolest moment will always be scoring the club’s first ever competitive goal against San Marino on the opening day of the season. Watching that ball go into the net and hearing the eruption from the 2000 plus fans that came out that day, seeing the Main Street Hooligans throwing their streamers onto the field and celebrating with my teammates is something I never want to forget. I still have that video on my phone and I love going back to watch it from time to time.
AFC: What do you hope to accomplish with the club this summer?
Kyle: I want to help the club take their next step. It’s always tough coming into a team that had such great success in their first year in a tough division but whatever that next step looks like is where I want to help the team get to. Whether that’s another league win or two, or the club’s first ever postseason win.
About AFC Ann Arbor
AFC Ann Arbor completed a very successful inaugural campaign in the Midwest Region of the National Premier Soccer League finishing 2nd in the conference while earning the club’s first playoff berth. The club’s third season kicks off in May as The Mighty Oak look to continue their winning ways under Head Coach Eric Rudland. Youth, General and Premium Memberships for Season Tree can be purchased here.