Brek Shea, Midfielder, FC Dallas
Copywriter, T. Scharfenberg | Photographer, C. Wild | Videographer, C. Wild
Creative people are a unique group. Creativity and nonconformity in one aspect of their lives tend to permeate into all the other parts. Never has that been truer than with up-and-coming soccer star, Brek Shea. He's an incredible innovator on the field and is getting more and more attention with every game appearance. But the story behind the star and how his creativity shines off the field may surprise you.
Growing up, Brek played American football and soccer. He also laughed while telling us he "tried to swim." During this time, he was looking to Eastbay for his sports gear. "It was pretty cool being able to get the shoes that the pros wear from there." It didn't stop with equipment, though. "Eastbay had more than just shoes and I was a shoe fanatic. I still am. Going there and being able to see every type of shoe was awesome for me."
It wasn't long before soccer became the perfect stage for Brek's creative play. He watched as many soccer games as possible, not for a specific team or player, but to soak in as much as he could. Apparently he's a quick learner because Brek made the country's U-17 team after his freshman year of high school. He was drafted by FC Dallas in 2008 and has been playing there ever since. "Just being a pro at that age was the coolest thing for me."
Brek has more than a few goals under his belt, but it's the nature of his contributions that are drawing more attention than his numbers. He's creative and smooth, with a hint of drama. He's great at getting a perfect touch on the ball. He's got the speed and the stride to dribble through defenders with some of the best in the business. His on-field play is unexpected, sometimes unrefined and nothing short of artistry.
But if that inventiveness ended when he walked off the pitch, what fun would that be? So Brek keeps it flowing. When Eastbay walked into Brek's home, we were instantly met with a scene that tells us Brek is creating more than he has room for. From wall to wall, he has hung his original art. Some pieces are leaning up against the wall because they don't have a place yet. His outdoor studio has canvas piled upon canvas, just waiting for the next wave of inspiration.
"Growing up I always enjoyed doing art in school, crafts and stuff like that. And then one day I wanted to buy art for my house and then I was like 'Why don't I just make art for my house?' And it's grown since then. I played too much Xbox, I think, and I wanted to have a new hobby, so I started painting. Just experimenting. And then I think with experimenting, I taught myself a little bit of how to paint. But I'm enjoying it so that's all that matters.
"I like it because I can't do any wrong. Obviously there's ones I like and don't like but for me there's no wrong. I can just go and open my mind and do whatever."
He may be better known as an athlete than an artist, but take a good look and you'll start to see it. Brek pointed out seven tattoos, including "Believe" on his shin and "Imagine" on his thigh. They are all reminders of his faith, his family and his motivation to "Play as if the world were watching." He also gave us some insight into his next tattoo, possibly a tribute to Texas, the state that made him a star.
His originality moves from his cleat-clad feet, to his brush-holding hands, all the way up to his hair. What's the deal with the ever-changing styles? "I definitely think the faux-hawk is my favorite. But it even changes colors every once in awhile. I like to experiment with my hair." And if you think it seems like the faux-hawk has a mind of it's own, you may be right. You can "like" it's own page: "Brek Shea's Hair" on Facebook.
His advice to athletes pursuing the next level is to love the game. "You have to enjoy playing soccer because that helps when you do the extra work. You've gotta do everything. Just because you're out at practice with your team and then you go home, it's not gonna get you there. You've gotta do extra stuff, you've gotta stay after it, you've gotta work on what you're not good at." And for midfielders, "You have to run a lot obviously, so being fit is key. You have to be aware at all times: where your teammates are, where the space is, where you should put the ball, where you should move to get the ball. It's all about awareness."
Next up for Brek is pursuing the goal of being "bigger and better" than he was last year. 2011 was a breakout year for him and his fans are more than eager to see where his career will take him. He tells us that if everything goes right, he'll be helping the country qualify for London and looking to get FC Dallas into the MLS playoff finals.
To soak up even more invention from Brek Shea, check out his art at leftfootstudio.com. To get more than your fill of quirckiness, contests and FC Dallas fandom, you can follow Brek on Twitter: @BrekShea.
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