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Rising Star: Chivas USA's Justin Braun
by Bryan Alvarez, June 23rd, 2009 7AM
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[MLS PROFILE] Justin Braun is a second-year forward with Chivas USA who bolstered the injury-plagued frontline of the West's second-place team. Braun's unusual route to MLS took him from an amateur men's team in Utah to a chance discovery by Chivas USA coach Preki at a USASA tournament at the Home Depot Center. Get to know the 22-year-old in this profile by Soccer America's Bryan Alvarez that covers on and off-field experiences.

AGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Salt Lake City, Utah
COLLEGE: Salt Lake Community Community College

STARTING OUT: My dad was a big soccer fan. He got me involved and it stuck with me. I love the competition and the finesse.
EARLY SOCCER MEMORY: I have great memories of having my dad as a coach. He coached me until I was 13. He gave me my baseline and taught me everything I know.
FIRST CLEATS: They had to be cheap $20 K-Mart brand cleats. My sophomore year in high school, I had silver and blue Kelmes. They were the worst-looking cleats.
CURRENT CLEATS: Adidas AdiPures.
OTHER SPORTS: I played basketball, volleyball and baseball.

FAVORITE TEAMS: Utah Jazz, Buffalo Bills.
FAVORITE PLAYER: Darren Williams from the Utah Jazz, Marshawn Lynch from the Buffalo Bills and Cristiano Ronaldo.
FAVORITE MOVIES: "The Hangover."
FAVORITE ACTOR: Denzel Washington.

LIVING SITUATION: I live with two guys from the team, Lance Parker and Michael Lahoud. We have a condo in Manhattan Beach
MLS EXPERIENCE: It's gone pretty well. My first year, I didn't expect as much playing time as I got. I feel like I did well and showed the staff that I could play. My second year is going pretty well, too. Ever since I was 4 years old, I've dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player. I'm just enjoying my time here.

MOST INFLUENTIAL COACH: My Dad, Michael and my coach at Salt Lake Community College, Enrique Velasquez.
MEMORABLE COACHING ADVICE (from youth coach): When I was about 15 or 16, I was at a tryout. A coach told me to always play your best because you never know who's watching. That advice played into me becoming a pro. I didn't go the usual route to MLS. I didn't play Division I college soccer. I played with a men's league I Utah. We went to a tournament at the Home Depot Center. [Chivas USA coach] Preki was there looking at another player. I must have played well that day because he invited me to tryout for Chivas USA. So, you see, you never know who's watching.

HOBBIES: I like water sports like wakeboarding. I like snowboarding and hanging out with my family. When I'm in LA, I go to the beach. I hang out with my girlfriend a lot, too.
MUSIC: I like Rap. T.I. is my favorite right now.
READING: I'm not a big reader. I'm starting an online class in macroeconomics though. So, I'll be doing a lot of reading for that.
VACATION: When I'm with my family, we go to Fremont Lake in Pinedale, Wyoming. One place I would like to go is Spain.
FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: Karl Malone and John Stockton.


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