Friday Feature: Ed Brand

For many San Jose State University students, San Jose is not far from home. It’s the first time they leave home, family and friends behind, but for most, it’s just a short drive to get back to what they have always known. For men’s soccer’s Ed Brand, the only short drive involved in going home is the one to the airport.

Ed Brand joined the Spartan family in 2005 from London, England. The defender made an immediate impact on the team and has continued to be a leader on and off the field. Brand was named a co-captain for the second consecutive year in 2007, and is quite proud of his title.

“I’d like to think I’m always here if lads need someone to talk to or if they’re wanting advice,” said Brand. “I’ve got relative experience coming back from England, so I think that’s good to draw on as well. Something I’ve always had the honor of being is a captain, so it’s something I’m proud to do.”

Brand’s abilities as a leader began at the Elliott School, where he was named captain of both the soccer team and cricket team, but his passion for soccer started years before. To this day, Brand remembers how his love of soccer began.

“When I was 4 or 5 was when I first started playing,” said Brand. “My dad was a big Arsenal fan back in England, which I also support, and my granddad was big into football as well. He got me into it. There was a major tournament on TV, I remember, in 1992 and I just sat down. No one put me down. I just sat down and watched it all and my dad saw straight-away that I loved it. It grew from there. Instantly, I just fell in love with it, just straight-away. It was all I talked about, all I read about, all I watched.”

Coming to the United States was a big move for Brand, who had never been to the U.S. prior to his international visit.

“I had to get a connecting flight from Dallas and it was the middle of the summer,” said Brand. “I was in Dallas airport and it was the hottest place I’d ever been in my life and I thought, if San Jose is anything like this, I’m not living here. Thankfully, it’s a lot cooler here than it is in Dallas.”

Since coming to San Jose State, Brand has found time to excel on the field, in the classroom, and on the social scene, but it has not been without a downside.

“On the whole, I’ve enjoyed it,” said Brand. “It would be a lie if I said every minute has been fantastic. There have been ups and downs.”

One of Brand’s biggest “downs” is what he misses most in England.

“Definitely my family,” said Brand. “My mum, my dad, my sister and my nan. Without a shadow of a doubt, I miss them a lot.”

Fortunately, Brand does get a chance to see his family and friends often on his return trips home. The reigning First-Team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honoree goes home every summer and for a few weeks over winter break.

Though Brand misses England, he has found a home in San Jose as well. The city provides Brand with some of his favorite activities, including going to the movies and hanging out with friends, but he still has a hard time calling it a city.

“Being from central London, a huge city, and coming to San Jose, it has its drawbacks,” said Brand. “It always makes me laugh when I’m in class listening to other students say Oh, I find it so hard to adapt to living in a big city now’. You’d die in London if this is too much for you.”

Brand did not come to San Jose for its nice weather or its “big city” campus; he came for soccer and for an education.

“Someone just came to me with this idea that I could come to America and play where the standards are high and you have a good chance of turning professional at the end of it,” said Brand. “Plus, you get an education. It seemed too much like an opportunity of a lifetime to turn down considering it was going to be like a full scholarship. It seemed too good not to take.”

With his opportunity at an education, Brand chose to major in journalism. He has always enjoyed writing and thought journalism would be a great major to pursue.

“I wanted something that, if I was never going to be a footballer, if that dream never works out for me, I wanted something that would keep me heavily involved in sports and do something else I think I’m quite good at. Writing and journalism just seemed like the natural choice and I’m exploring a couple of options right now. I might be writing a column for a newspaper back home. It’s just an idea for now. I’m still trying to sort it out, but if I could do that, it would be great.”

The junior may be looking into his future goals, but for right now, the goals he is focusing on are the ones at the end of the soccer field. The Spartans open the 2007 regular season on Friday, August 31 in Davidson, N.C. The team will be playing in the Davidson adidas Classic against Charlotte and the host team.

“I’m very excited,” said Brand. “I’ve never been to North Carolina and I’ve never been that far east, so from a personal point of view, this could be a good experience to see a different part of America. From a soccer point of view, I’ll be glad to just get the real competitive stuff started and the season underway.”

The 2007 season looks promising for the Spartans and their co-captain. In 2006, Brand helped lead San Jose State to a 7-10-1 overall record and a 4-6-0 conference mark. Brand was third on the team in goals with two and added two assists for a total of six points on the season.

“We’re quite confident I think,” said Brand. “We’re reverting back to two (forwards) up front, which I think will help us. There’s a lot more experience on the team, obviously more this year than there was last year. I feel like a veteran now, which is frightening. We’ve got a lot of young freshmen looking to me, so it’s good. I know there are a lot of teams that are not going to want to play us, I know that for a fact, so we’ve just got to do our talking on the field and make sure we do well.”

Past 2007-08 Friday Features

August 24 - Jackie Zabek, Women's Soccer
August 31 - Ed Brand, Men's Soccer