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Atlanta United FC’s Brek Shea in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – Atlanta United FC will visit B.C. Place tonight, to take on Vancouver, and a very familiar face will be looking to take to the pitch against his former team, Whitecaps FC. Brek Shea spent the last two seasons playing for Vancouver before signing with Atlanta as a free agent on December 30, 2018.

Shea made 53 appearances for Whitecaps FC, contributing 7 goals, and 4 assists. As a designated player with Vancouver, Shea earned $745,000 last season. He often drew criticism from fans for his large salary, and player production. Even with those mixed results, Shea is thrilled to be back in Vancouver.

“I’m excited to be back,” Shea told Har Journalist during an exclusive interview. “I like this city. Today is sunny, so I’m excited.”

“I made a lot of good friends here that I played with,” Shea explained. “I liked being in the city, the environment. The connection I made with some of these players, I’ll have throughout the rest of my life. To come back and play your old team, is always fun.”

Whitecaps FC’s Russell Teibert is looking forward to battling Shea tonight. While the two have kept in touch and remain friends off the pitch, once that whistle blows, who knows.

“No matter what, we’re friends,” Teibert said. “I don’t think that changes whether he’s an opponent or not. There’s no enemies with him, and I for sure. It’ll be nice to share the pitch with him again, I enjoyed playing with him as a player and a person, on and off the field. It’ll be nice.”

During training sessions with Vancouver, Shea was often bundled up in a turtle neck, with long joggers, and gloves on, even in May. The rainy west coast weather was not something Shea enjoyed.

Tuesday’s day long downpour of rain was fittingly poetic.

“I know he loves the rain,” Teibert laughed. 

“Yeah, yesterday it didn’t stop raining the entire day,” Shea said. “Obviously we trained in the rain. It’s something I got use to last year, but on game-day, it’s a lot more sunny.”

The 29-year-old, Shea has found himself playing left-back for Atlanta. A position that he occasionally played for Vancouver. If Shea can get forward, he should expect to see Jake Nerwinski at the opposite end.

“He’s definitely a converted full-back,” Nerwinski said. “He likes to be on the wing. The way that they play, he’ll be more of a winger. He likes to get forward. He’s fast, he’s strong, he’s big. I know Brek very well, and I’m excited to play against him.”

“Brek is a good player,” Nerwinski added. “He’s a tall, fast guy. He’s an athletic specimen, as we always use to say. He can make things happen. It’s just whether or not he’s on tomorrow.”

How much is Shea looking forward to playing against Nerwinski?

“Oh yeah, I’m excited,” Shea beamed. “Jake is one of my good friends. I’m excited to see him, I trained against him a lot last year. We’ll see what happens tonight.”

How would Shea describe his former teammate?

“I’d say, a little short, strong, specimen.”

In his first season with Atlanta, Shea has made 10 appearances and started 6 games. Shea and his wife, Carling are glad to be back in the south where the tea is sweet, time moves slow, and it doesn’t rain all that much.

“We like Atlanta a lot, it’s a big city,” Shea said. “A big sports city. It’s in the south, we enjoy the south, we’re both from the south. We’re very much enjoying our time there. When I’m done with my career, we’ll probably be living in Texas or Florida.”

Since moving to Georgia, Shea’s Left Foot Studio art collection has slowed. He hasn’t been able to get back to painting. Shea and Teibert put on a “Controlled Chaos” art show in September for the Ronald McDonald House of British Columbia and Yukon. The show was a huge success and raised $17,000.

“We’ve got some new clothing and stuff like that,” Shea said. “I haven’t been able to do any art. A few players have requested pieces, and I haven’t been able to get them. I’ve been busy with the move, and getting my kids settled into school. I haven’t done any paintings of late.”

While Nerwinski, Teibert, and a persistent Kei Kamara, have a painting from Shea’s, Left Foot Studio. A pair of former Vancouver Whitecaps FC centre-backs are still waiting for their art work.

“Kendall (Waston), and Tim (Parker) are requesting paintings.” Shea revealed.

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Game day! @tim_parker26 #whitecapsfc

A post shared by @ brekshea on

Atlanta United FC, (5-3-2, 12-points) will look to extend their four-game winning streak against a Vancouver Whitecaps FC side, (3-5-3, 11-points) that has won two matches in a row. Something’s going to give, and Shea could make the difference.

 

 

 

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