Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brad Rusin, from NASL to Danish Superliga

Brad Rusin’s career has certainly gone from good to great in the past few months. For the past two years the former UCLA man has been stalwart for the Carolina Railhawks back line. Rusin had become a franchise player for Carolina as he developed his game. However there is more to Rusin’s backstory than many know.
Brad also played at IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Florida from 2002 -2005. From there he played for various developmental teams while also playing for UCLA from 2005-2008.
Following his successes with UCLA, which were numerous, Rusin signed with the Carolina Railhawks. It was there that his game developed into a player who garnered opportunity in MLS and then chose to go abroad. Read on for an exclusive interview with MLS Reserves.

MLS Reserves: How are you adjusting to life in Denmark? Has it been difficult? Exciting?
Brad Rusin: “It has been great so far and a really easy transition for me.  In large part it has a lot to do with the staff and players at HB Køge.  I couldn't thank them enough for making me feel at home the minute I got here.  I knew when I came a year ago for trial that this was a place where I wanted to be because I would feel comfortable both on and off the field and be able to perform to my highest ability.  Every single person at the club has been so helpful and want me to not worry about anything but playing football.”
 MLS Reserves: Who do you have in the area supporting you and were you nervous arriving in a new country?
Brad Rusin: “I was never nervous to come to a new place.  I have wanted to come to Europe now for a while and many people knew that.  I was very excited to have a chance to play at a European club and I just wanted to get started.  I am living on my own as of now in a nice house the club has rented for me.  I also have a car, so I can be an independent person which is important to me.  If I did need something or some help, I know anyone in the club is willing to give me a hand at anytime.”
Brad Rusin for the Carolina Railhawks
Rob Kinnan Photography
MLS Reserves: Can you compare the level of play between NASL and the Danish Superliga?

Brad Rusin: “It is quite different.  As you may expect, the speed of play is much higher in the Superliga.  Players here think much quicker and react much quicker.  The player's here have more technical ability too.  They may not be better football players as a whole, but they know what they are good at and that's all they do to be successful.  For example, if a winger is good at crossing you won't see him go one on one many times, but rather just keep possession.  When he does have the opportunity to cross a ball…it's a quality cross 8 out of ten times.  I would say the biggest difference is when you make a mistake you are usually punished for it.  In the NASL you could afford to make a couple mistakes and it is not such a big deal.  If you look at our season so far, we have had a lot of mistakes and mishaps on free kicks resulting in more than half of the goals against.”
MLS Reserves: You arrived with a bang. A stellar goal and highlight real stuff. How have you coped with the immediate attention and success and keep that going forward?
Brad Rusin: “It has given me a ton of confidence.  It is not only great for my name to be out there, but it is also great for HB Køge.  This past weekend we had the biggest crowd at home in 8 years which was around 8 thousand I believe.  Personally, it was a great way to get my name out in Danish football and hopefully European football.  I know that many people have seen the goal and now some eyes are on me and of course the club…which is a great thing!  At the end of the day, the reason I came to Europe was to get an opportunity to play at the highest level and I think personally it has been a great start.  As a team, we need to do a bit better and concentrate on the small things and I think the positive results will come quick!”
MLS Reserves: It was rumored that you were offered a contract by the LA Galaxy. Is this true? If so, why was it turned down?
Brad Rusin: “This is true…unfortunately a couple of their center backs had season ending injuries and Bruce Arena put a call in and asked me if I was interested in signing with the Galaxy.  At the end of the day, I wanted more than they could pay me at the time.  I set the bar pretty high knowing that if they really wanted me then they would have no problem with it.  In my mind, if I am going to stay in the MLS you need to start out with a good salary because it is tougher to jump up in money in the MLS than in Europe.  And again, I have always told myself that I wanted to go to Europe and if an MLS team did want me and thought highly of me then why not pay me for what I am worth??  To be honest, this is a part of my motivation to do well….to prove to those teams that I am better than they thought and to make them look back and think they missed their chance on a good player.  I want to prove to everyone that I can play here and I belong here and I want to represent for the US as best I can.”
Rob Kinnan Photography
MLS Reserves: Had you ever considered or wanted to go to MLS? Is that something you might consider in the future?
Brad Rusin: “I will consider it when I feel everything is right.  At this point, I have never really wanted to go to the MLS because I have always wanted to go to Europe.  I think the league is getting better and better and it seems  like everyone in Europe is starting to respect the league.  It's important for me to do well where I am now and then you never know where I could end up!”
MLS Reserves: Martin Rennie was just announced to be leaving Carolina at the end of the season. Thoughts on this? What has Martin done for you in the time that you were a Railhawk?
Brad Rusin: “I think this is great for Martin and I know this is what he has been working towards since he has been in the States.  I have a lot of respect for Martin and always will because the he offered me my first professional contract.  Since day one he has always helped me and pushed me to become a better player and person.  He saw something in me and took a chance with me and before long I was his captain.  This shows what he thought about me and he gave me confidence to go and perform at a high level each and every day.  I owe a lot to him and I couldn't be happier for him because he definitely deserves this opportunity.:
MLS Reserves: Looking forward, what are your long term goals as a soccer player? Are there national team aspirations, desires to move in Europe?

Brad Rusin: “Well they may be long term goals, but in my mind they are short term.  I have signed a 3 year contract here, but it doesn't mean I will stay here.  They have told me the ideal situation would be to sell me between 6 to 12 months to a larger European club.  Obviously that depends on my performances.  I would love to have that opportunity and I think it is ideal!  I have done well so far and just need to keep playing well.  I would love to represent the US someday and I think one day I will.  I am confident that if I do well in European football, I will have the opportunity one day.  I am not worried about that stuff and can't be…I am just focused on the opportunity and trying to do my best…. the rest will all fall into place!”

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I’ve had the pleasure of watching Rusin play soccer live for some time now. I’ve also been more privileged to speak to him on multiple occasions before and after games. What I’ve seen has always impressed me. On the field Rusin is a hard working defender who pushes his body for the betterment of his team. Off the field he is a well spoken, motivated person who wants the best for himself and those around him.

Keep an eye on him folks; it’s a name you’ll see again. 

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! I am really pulling for Brad, it's great to see a Carolina player doing well in Europe. I'd love to see him in a US shirt one day too, I don't think it's out of the question now that we have a national team coach interested in bringing in new, motivated players who will fight for a spot on the team. Good luck Brad!

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