For the past 16 years, the varsity boys soccer program at Berean Christian School has been under the direction of Luke Schartner, who is also the dean of varsity athletic coaches at the school.
For Schartner, who teaches physical education, his coaching roots took hold as a child.
“I grew up and played in Illinois,” Schartner recalled. “My high school career was at Libertyville High School, and I played as a midfielder.”
After high school, he moved to West Palm Beach to attend Palm Beach Atlantic University and played college soccer. “I had one season as a PBA Sailfish,” Schartner said.
His desire to be a soccer coach can be traced to his father.
“I grew up watching my dad coach,” Schartner said. “It was something I was always interested in. It’s a huge part of my life now.”
His reasons for becoming a soccer coach were driven by the importance of providing a positive and supportive atmosphere for his players.
“A lot of people coach because they had positive coaches and wanted to do the same for others,” Schartner said. “For me, it was somewhat the opposite. I had some negative experiences with coaches and really wanted to be different.”
While some coaches are regarded as being the ultimate source of information for their players, Schartner believes that he is still learning about soccer every time he steps on the field.
“I feel like this journey has always been about learning for both me as a coach and also for my players,” Schartner said. “Even after 16 seasons, I have much to learn. I strive to focus on the players and building them up as men and not as much focus on building a program. I also want to instill ownership in the boys. So, they see it as their team and performance.”
While every soccer season at Berean has been filled with memorable moments, some of his recent teams have produced profound memories.
“Our team that made that run to the regional final in 2018 was talented, but played really well as a unit, too,” Schartner said. “They also knew how to make things really fun, thanks to Mark Sadek. And the 2020 post-season run was a fun memory. We had three playoff games in one week. All three games went into overtime, we had two penalty shootouts, and we defeated a really quality undefeated Yeshiva team to clinch the district championship.”
Berean’s athletic director Michelle Metzler is delighted to have Schartner as the leader of the varsity boys soccer program.
“I’ve witnessed his solid coaching skill set and experience during games and practices,” Metzler said. “He intentionally grabs opportunities to create meaningful relationships with his athletes. The level of trust he builds extends into long-term, successful character development. His unyielding commitment to progress is notable, despite any setbacks. I am, personally, constantly encouraged by him. Coach Schartner challenges his players, on every level, to be impactful. There’s an impressive balance that he is able to generate and maintain.”
When asked to assemble a Berean “dream team” boys soccer squad, based on his first 16 years as the coach, he was able to create a list, but it was not an easy selection process.
“I know I’m probably forgetting some names,” Schartner said.
His top goalkeeper is Mikael Guerrier, though former Bulldog Derek Medellin and his current keeper, Miles Kelly, would also be worthy selections. His starting defenders would be Caleb Wells, Barak Degler, Armani Zalez, Keilon Stube and Chris Intoppa. His top four midfielders would be Arrun Rajoo, Nael Guerrier, Justin Dieck and Brock Dion, and his two goal-scoring forwards would be Noah Torres and Alex Silva.