With players like Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard soon to grace Major League Soccer, interest in America’s top league is at an all-time high and with Lampard’s New York City and Brazilian superstar Kaka’s Orlando City the latest teams to join, the league now boasts 20 clubs in the 2015 season.
In-keeping with it’s ambitious plans to reach 24 clubs by 2020, MLS recently announced that it’s next expansion club will be Minnesota United, who currently compete in the North American Soccer League. With the club now planning to build a new stadium in Downtown Minneapolis, the future certainly looks bright for The Loons.
One man who knows more than most what it means to the state of Minnesota to gain entry to MLS is Brian Kallman. Having grown up in Woodbury, Minnesota he has gone on to spend nine years there as a player since turning professional in 2006. Brian’s first professional club was Minnesota Thunder and after a four year stint the defender signed for Minnesota Stars who later became known as Minnesota United.
The Creighton University graduate isn’t the only Kallman with an interest in soccer in Minnesota. Brian comes from a soccer-mad family which has amazingly also seen his brother and one of his sisters play professionally, and two other sisters play semi-professionally.
Brian recently picked up a pair of Mithra custom shin pads from us at Pro Soccer Shin Pads, and we caught up with him for some insight into life as a Loon – check out the interview below!
Q. Hi Brian, easy question to start with – who’s the best player out of you and your?
Though I have had the longest Professional career I would have to say my youngest sister Kassey. She had a great college career at Florida State, won the U20 World Cup, Won the championship her rookie season with Kansas City, and I think will be getting a shot with the full US Women’s National team
Q. How competitive were you with each other growing up and was there a big influence that led you all into soccer?
We were always competing in everything! Basketball games, backyard soccer, cards, or we would make up games in the basement. Whatever it was we were competing, that’s how us Kallman’s are.
Q. How does it feel to have your brother Brent playing alongside you now?
It’s incredible. We never got the chance to play together before since I am so much older. When we played Swansea City in a friendly last summer and he was absolutely destroying their attackers I remember looking over and getting a tear in my eye thinking “this kid is a beast”
Q. As someone who grew up in Minnesota, how do you feel about MLS coming to the state?
This is huge for the community! United has done such a great job getting us out in the community and growing our brand. People know who we are now. The game night experience is already a spectacle. With the new stadium in a downtown location this is going to be massive.
Q. Can you describe your typical match day routine?
I like to spend the day with my family relaxing and playing with my son Kingsley. My wife normally makes me a great pregame meal 4 hours before game. Always take a pregame shower either before I leave home or the hotel where I start to stretch and clear my mind. On the way to the game I play whatever music I’m in the mood for (reggae or rap typically). We get to the locker room 90 minutes prior to game. As I get ready I start with my Zensah Compression shorts and my Bombas Socks as well as the rest of our kit. About 5 minutes before we take the field I throw on my Nike Tiempo and lastly I look at my new shin pads and think about this club and my family and how far I’ve come, then the shin pads go in the sock and its game time.
Q. You currently coach kid’s soccer, will you be looking to move into management when your playing days are over?
For sure! This is a sport that I love and I have been coaching for the last 7 years pretty much full time. I would love to be involved with Minnesota United FC far into the future either with first team or Academy.
Q. Who is your all-time favourite soccer player and why?
Eric Cantona that guy was a legend. Such an amazingly skilled player and he two footed a fan! Crazy
Q. How do you like your new shin pads?
Best shin pads I have ever had. They are light weight and comfortable. I can’t even tell they are there just like I like them. It is awesome that you can customize them so they mean something more to you.
Q. Can you explain how you chose your shin pad design and what it means to you?
Two things that I think about all the time while I’m working out and playing are my family and the club. My family is what pushes me when training is tough or when I am not playing as much as I want to. I think I am getting paid to play soccer and provide for my family and I want to do this as long as I can. My wife is always there to support me and keep me grounded. One of my goals is to play soccer long enough that Kingsley can remember watching me play. The other thing that pushes me is this club Minnesota United FC. It has been a long road playing in Minnesota. Back when we were the Thunder we struggled as a team and a club which ended with the owner skipping town without paying us our last few pay checks. We became league owned and changed the name to Stars FC. Though we were league owned our manager put together a good group of players that worked hard for each other leading us to a championship and a runner up the following year. Since the new owner stepped in and rebranded to United FC things are way better. We are taking care of everyday, quality of players and life has increased dramatically. We have come a long way and it keeps getting better and better.
Q. And finally, if you could play for any other club in the world who would it be?
Truly, I do not want to play for anyone but United FC. Minnesota has been my home since I was 10. Though I have technically played for 3 Minnesota PRO teams I only want to be here. Not many people can say that they have spent their whole career in one place and that is something I pride myself in. I have always believed in soccer in Minnesota and now that it is how it is, I don’t want to leave. I want to continue to grow the game I love in the city and state I love.