Daniel Scott makes his debut as a Prost Amerika columnist this week. Now with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Scott was co-captain of the Kitsap Pumas side that won the PDL National Championship.
They also drew Sounders FC in the US Open Cup. That match was about something more than just the Pumas for Daniel. His opposite number as captain was his brother Zach.
In the first article in a regular column “Don’t Call Him Dan!”, Daniel recollects the feelings when he realized he would be playing professionally against the man he had idolized since he was born his older brother Zach, and what it meant to the woman they both loved, their mother Linda.
It’s a Family Affair – Part 1
by Daniel Scott
The final whistle blew. The match had ended 3-1 and we were on to the third round of the US Open Cup. Our Kitsap Pumas team had just defeated a very solid Real Colorado Foxes opponent and were now set to square off with two time defending US Open Cup Champion Seattle Sounders.
We had earned the right to play and compete against one of the most respected and successful clubs in North America and believed we had a team that was capable of winning if we performed to our highest abilities. This is what makes competing in the US Open Cup so unique and exciting: the chance for a lower division team, like Kitsap, to have the opportunity to potentially upset a higher division club.
Walking off the pitch at Bremerton Memorial Stadium that night, I realized the difficult task our team faced for the upcoming match against the Sounders but knew each player was more than ready to embrace the moment. I know I can speak on behalf of my teammates, coaches, the Bremerton community, and Pumas’ organization that this was exactly where we wanted to be.
As exciting as it might be for a player in a lower division to compete against a top division club, imagine how motivating it is when that player has an older brother who’s on the roster of their opponents.
The player on the higher division team happened to be my brother Zach Scott. I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t cross my mind prior to the start of our Open Cup run, the chance we might play on the same field. How could it not? To actually play against my older brother? The one I grew up idolizing as a kid and emulating everything he did or didn’t do? Yeah, that one.
Now, as much as I admire him, he unfortunately was the typical older brother who would purposely beat me in everything to prove he was more physically dominant than I was. I’ll admit, I probably deserved more than half of the things thrown my way, but I now had the opportunity to play against him.
Only a younger brother would understand the thoughts going through my head.
“No one was more excited than our mother”
As much excitement as there was within our family during the week leading up to the match no one was more excited than our mother.
When she found out we were playing each other she immediately booked a flight from Long Beach, CA and was planning on being there for kick off.
My brother and I spoke to her on several occasions before the game and asked her more than once whom she wanted to win. Being the loving mother she is, she told us both she didn’t care and hoped for an injury free game.
I wasn’t content with her answer, and being the youngest knew she was secretly rooting me to victory. In order to prove my theory I decided to put Mom through a little “test.”
I called Zach to tell him we were going to put Mom on a third line and have him listen while I asked her a series of questions. I was tired of having Zach tell me he was the favorite and needed some clarity.
After speaking with her for a couple minutes and hearing Zach breathe heavily on the other line, I figured I should wait no longer and finally asked her who her favorite son is.
She answered adamantly, I told you sweetie, Michael.”
Now, for those who don’t know, Zach and I have an older brother who happens to be a doctor in Minnesota. This definitely was not the answer I was looking for and I insisted she give me the answer I was trying to find, so I asked again. She finally answered, “you of course!!!”
Through the utter chaos of Zach screaming, “What!!!!, my laughter and Mom being completely confused and fooled, I had finally gotten the answer I was looking for. She couldn’t believe we had put her through this and we all got a laugh out of it. The match was less than 24 hours away and I now felt a mental edge knowing that our mother was cheering for her supposed “favorite” son.
Prior to kick off teammate and fellow captain Nik Besagno approached me and asked if I wanted to do the coin toss before the game. It happened to work out that Zach was given the Sounders captain’s band and both teams met in the tunnel before walking out on the pitch. We shook hands, gave each other a hug and spoke briefly before walking out with our respective teams.
As we set foot onto the pitch the raucous and noisy crowd set an atmosphere I will never forget. I remember looking up into the stands trying to find family, but it was a sea of green and blue. After warming up with our teams I met Zach in the center circle for the coin toss. It was a surreal moment as we once again shook hands and exchanged another brotherly hug. We took a quick photo and went back to our opposing sides.
In Part 2, Daniel will talk about the match itself, playing against Zach, the aftermath and what he made of the experience with the benefit of hindsight.