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Brand Him A Sounder

He commenced his career in Toronto, played for Canada’s Olympic and national teams, and has made the Great White North’s largest city his home. And yet on Saturday, despite never setting foot in CenturyLink Field, Jack Brand will bleed Rave Green.

“Some of my friends will curse me for that,” says Brand, “(but) my heart is with Seattle.”

It’s not so much the quantity of time Brand spent in Seattle in his earlier years. Rather, it is the quality of that tenure. He was part of something truly special, both in Sounders lore and the rebirth of the game with a semipro club comprised of local lads.

Jack Brand (Courtesy Brand Family)

Brand, now 64, presides over his family’s business, based in nearby Mississauga. The Brand Felt Ltd. manufactures industrial felt for a multitude of industries, exporting worldwide. The German-born Brand, at 17, was sent abroad by his father, company founder Klaus Brand, to study in New York state. Although he had played for then-West Germany’s youth national team, his father forbade him from turning pro at the time.

Beckoned to Seattle Continue reading Brand Him A Sounder

Standing on Shoulders

In the moments before kickoff, as I peak over my outstretched scarf and survey the throbbing mass at the CLink, I sometimes close my eyes for a moment and give thanks. I’m thankful to be there with family or friends and forty-thousand like-minded disciples. And I’m thankful for all those who made this scene possible.

To be honest, there are probably hundreds of people deserving of a shout out. Make that thousands. Because what makes Sounders FC world class is the sheer size and fervor of their support. In time the play will climb to that elite level; your voice and your passion is already legend.

Black Diamond's vaunted miners, circa 1916–some 30 years after their elders first brought a ball to the region
Black Diamond’s vaunted miners, circa 1916–some 30 years after their elders first brought a ball to the region (Courtesy Pep Peery Collection)

Ah, but you are not the first throng to throw yourselves behind this great game.

Continue reading Standing on Shoulders