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The Crew's Rising Star: Eric Brunner
by Bryan Alvarez, August 20th, 2009 7AM
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[MLS]Eric Brunner started the 2008 season with the New York Red Bulls before a stint with the USL's Miami FC. He's finding his stride this season with the Columbus Crew and has contributed a goal, an assist and logged more than 1,400 minutes in 18 games. Get to know the 23-year-old in this profile by Soccer America's Bryan Alvarez that covers on and off-field experiences.

ERIC BRUNNER
(Columbus Crew)

POSITION:
Defender
AGE: 23
HOMETOWN: Dublin, Ohio
MLS CLUB: Columbus Crew
YOUTH CLUB: Ohio Thunder
COLLEGE: Ohio State

INTERNATIONAL: I played in the 2008 Toulon Tournament with the U-23s. I played in two games and got a goal.
STARTING OUT:I played baseball and soccer. I started around age 6. I stuck with soccer and played ODP and club ball. I wanted a scholarship to help my parents. Around my junior year in college, I started thinking about pursuing soccer professionally.
OTHER SPORTS: I played baseball, competitively. I played tennis, golf and fish for fun.
EARLY SOCCER MEMORY: In U-15s, we won a national championship.

FIRST CLEATS: Lottos
CURRENT CLEATS:Nike Tiempo Legends

FAVORITE TEAMS: Philadelphia Flyers, Manchester United.
FAVORITE PLAYERS: Zinedine Zidane, Franz Beckenbauer and Roy Keane.
FAVORITE MOVIES:"Good Will Hunting," "Snatch."
FAVORITE ACTORS: Steve Carell, Will Ferrell.
FAVORITE ACTRESS: I don't have one.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: "Rescue Me," "MASH."

LIVING SITUATION:I'm renting a place from Frankie Hejduk.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: I think [Toronto's Stefan] Frei is having a good season. He's a good goalie. D.C. United's [Chris] Pontius is doing well, too.

MLS EXPERIENCE:It's going well. I'm fortunate to play in my hometown. My family and my friends from college are here. I was in New York and Miami last year. It's different living away from home if you're not used to it.
COLLEGE: It was good. I ended my senior season well. We went to the national championship final. Unfortunately, we didn't win. It got me into the combine. I went from there. College helped get me ready to play professionally.
MOST INFLUENTIAL COACH: [Crew coach] Robert [Warzycha] is good at talking things out. From my youth days, I have two. Mike Thomas and Mike Barry. I played with them on a bunch of different clubs.
MEMORABLE COACHING ADVICE (from youth coach): Enjoy it, especially when you're young. When you get older, you concentrate more. Play because you love it.

HOBBIES: I like video games like FIFA, Tiger Woods and Halo. I like fishing, too. I just got a dog, too. So, that will take up a lot of my time.
MUSIC:I listen to alternative music mostly. I like The Kooks and the Arctic Monkeys.
READING: I read a lot of USA Today articles on my phone. I liked the Harry Potter books, too.
VACATION:I haven't been on too many vacations. I like the Caribbean.
FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: Zinedine Zidane, Will Smith.



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