Brad Rusin hadn’t even set foot in Vancouver before he had reason to loathe Toronto. He "flew in Friday, but the plane got delayed in Toronto, so I got in at like one in the morning on Saturday". Far be it for a little thing like that to dismay the 6'4" centre back.
Literally and figuratively, he hit the ground running, venturing out into the city.
"I’ve got to explore a little bit, but the weather is pretty much the same, maybe a little colder actually in Denmark. Some of the guys are complaining about the weather here, but it’s actually better than Denmark and what I came from".
Paired with Alain Rochat in his first training session, they made an effective partnership. Corey Hertzog, a striker on trial, won’t soon forget his sound defensive marking.
With Brad Knighton, Matt Watson, Jun Marques Davidson, and Paul Ritchie around, he has plenty of familiar faces from his days with Carolina RailHawks FC, but it was Martin Rennie that convinced him to come here.
"I played for Martin, and of course I knew some of the guys from playing in Carolina, but ultimately I just came because it’s a good organisation. To play under Martin again was something I was interested in doing, and I’m glad everything worked out and I’m here."
During those days in Carolina, he became Captain at the tender age of 24.
"It was kind of tricky because at the time I was actually on trial in Europe, but I was still under contract in Carolina, and then when I came back from Europe, things didn’t work out because they couldn’t sign me over there. The Danish Federation wouldn’t let the team sign players because there’s some rule in Denmark about having 25% of their salaries in the bank or something."
Coming from a league with rules like that, he’s sure to fit in nicely.
"So I was basically just running around the field in Carolina, and when I came back and actually started playing, he gave me the captain’s band and we did pretty well."
During his two and a half years in Carolina, the RailHawks FC won the league once, and finished second twice; pretty well indeed.
It’s not hard to see why Martin Rennie made him captain of Carolina. He preaches teamwork and a winning mentality.
"To succeed you have to win, of course a tie here and there, but ultimately winning, and winning a championship."
And what of the new challenges Major League Soccer represents?
"I've had a couple of opportunities to come back before, but ultimately I wanted to play in Europe. I think the experience is going to help me here. I definitely think I’m prepared."
But it’s not just about the league this year.
"I know the Cascadia Cup's a big one and I know we need to win it. We haven't done too well in the past, but I'm looking forward to getting out there and winning it."
With his help, the Whitecaps just might do that.