For many young athletes, competing in front of a huge crowd is a dream of theirs, and getting to do so by representing their country is an even bigger dream. This summer Kalamazoo College senior Drew Bremer got to experience that dream.
The journey started last fall, when Bremer came across a video on Twitter from the United States Women’s National Soccer team congratulating the Paralympic team on their qualification for Rio. Bremer was immediately interested, and quickly began researching what he needed to do to pursue this opportunity.
Bremer was born with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which effects his ability to use the right side of his body, but for anyone who has watched him play soccer, you likely would not even notice. He played 3 years of varsity soccer in high school, and is a member of the Men’s Varsity team here at K.
After sending the coaches some game film, Bremer was invited to one of the team’s camps last fall. After being continually invited back, Bremer officially made the roster in April, and that was when the reality of the opportunity really set in.
“It didn’t really set in until after the camps, when we were really getting together as a team, and it was a lot of fun to represent the U.S.,” Bremer said.
Prior to Rio, the team traveled to Europe for warm up tournaments, which Bremer described as one of his favorite parts of the journey.
“Getting to go to Amsterdam and Barcelona to play soccer was really cool, kind of something you dream of as a kid,” Bremer said. “I got to become friends with some of the Dutch and Ukrainian team players, and we still stay in touch.”
In early September, they finally arrived in Rio for the Paralympic games. “Being a part of the opening and closing ceremonies as a part of team USA was amazing,” Bremer said.
“Rio was extremely nice, despite what all the media said about it leading up to the Olympics, I only saw like 2 mosquitoes.”
On the field Bremer had possibly the most memorable moment for team USA, scoring from the halfway line against Ireland.
“It was really cool to score just in general at the Paralympics, I had hit the cross bar several times in the tournament and felt I deserved a goal because I had played well,” Bremer said about the goal.
When asked about going back, Bremer said, “Hopefully if I can, depends on where I am in four years, I would definitely love to.”
As for the more immediate future, Bremer and the Men’s Soccer team are in action this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Calvin.