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.
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.
There’s the underlying beat of disco and the images are grainy, but you get the picture. And that’s the bottom line. You’re watching America’s soccer heritage unfold in living color.
While it’s definitely not HiDef, videotapes from NASL broadcasts during the Seventies and early Eighties are in many ways more telling than any prose. If pictures are worth a thousand words, actual match footage is the closest anyone will get to a time machine.
Dave Brett Wasser has spent 20-plus years unearthing these forgotten volumes and now has amassed and converted to DVD more than 450 matches from the days when Sounders, Whitecaps and Timbers first roamed the turf.
It’s the most comprehensive collection of vintage soccer Americana anywhere. For a nominal fee ($12 per game; $10 each for five or more) Wasser has distributed worldwide copies of games featuring countless combinations, from the original, star-laden Cosmos to the short-lived, enigmatic Las Vegas Quicksilvers.