Starting XI: Brett Bird

Posted on May 4, 2013 by

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Brett Bird (Southsider Vice-President & Director of Stadium Ops and Charitable Cause Committee Chair)

Starting XI

1.) First thing first, how long have you been a Southsider for?

Brett: “This is my third season. I came in with MLS and was blown away by the experience sitting near supporters the first time I went to check out a game. I had such a great time that I went home and bought a season ticket and a Southsiders Membership came soon after.”

2.) This year is looking like it’s going to be a huge year for you guys. How excited are you for this season?

Brett: “Pretty excited, but also a bit trepidatious.

On a Southsiders front, we have grand plans, but that comes with a lot of work. I’m happy to report that our volunteer base is growing, and I’m hoping that trend continues and we maintain the enthusiasm through the season. We are also enjoying a really positive relationship with the Whitecaps front office, and with the other supporters groups in the stadium, which is fantastic.

As far as the Whitecaps go, I’m so fired up. I believe in the coach, I’m really excited by the core we’ve kept from last year and our new additions. I think we’ll dominate the 24 under 24 list, and that’s a positive indication for where we are going, and a really bright future.”

3.) What is your personal opinion on the MLS/Cascadia battle?

Brett: “First, it’s been lost in the shuffle, but it’s not just the Cascadia Cup, and the Cascadia clubs. The Rocky Mountain Cup (Colorado/Salt Lake) and Brimstone Cup (Chicago/Dallas) are also in a similar situation. We were just the first to stand up and object. This is an MLS supporters issue, not just a Cascadia supporters issue, and it’s important to keep shining a light on that.

As far as our Cup, I have a lot of mixed feelings. Obviously on the surface it really sucks, it’s cutting into the things we want to do as a club and as volunteers in a major way. It’s taking time and resources away from things like tifo and our charitable works in the community, which is very disheartening.

The reason we got here though, is because we had a tough time working out the small stuff with the other two cities. The trademarking discussions started well before MLS took any action, we were just kind of plodding along. In a way, MLS interference forced us to put some things aside and work together at a faster pace, so there is a bit of an upside there.

If things work out the way I hope, and there are indications it will, this will just be a small blip. I think it’s given us a new level of communication with the league, and it’s really acted as a catalyst in how supporters groups communicate and work together across the US and Canada, as well as just locally, and I think that is a positive we can take away.”

4.) Who is your favourite current Whitecaps player?

Brett: “So hard to pick, and on what criteria? I’m a big fan of Gersh, in fact I try to stay 20-30 pounds heavier than Zach from Curva so that I can have some claim to being his “biggest” fan. I’ve really enjoyed seeing him grow as a player, and his flashes of brilliance. He’s also such a likable person. Alain Rochat is a close second.

Having a little more personal contact with Matt Watson, I really root for him to breakthrough and take a place in Whitecaps history. The head juggling while running down the sidelines in our last home game was a highlight of 2012, and you can’t deny the impact he had in our first ever MLS playoff game.”

5.) Who is your favourite Whitecaps player of all time?

Brett: “Carl Valentine, but his playing days were well before my time. I love what he contributes now, and he’s such a huge supporter of the Whitecaps and the SGs that it’s hard to deny his impact on our history and future.”

6.) What is your favourite soccer club other than the Vancouver Whitecaps?

Brett: “Honestly, it’s hard for me to form an attachment to a club over tv and dodgy streams. I’ll watch whatever is on, or highlight shows, but I don’t have another team. I follow Wes Knight, Jay Nolly and Nano, because I’m a big supporter of those dudes, but no other teams.”

7.) If you had to sell someone on joining the Southsiders and attending Whitecaps games. How would you do it?

Brett: “If they came from another planet or something? 😉

It would depend if I was trying to bring someone to a game, or indoctrinate them into the supporters lifestyle. Lately, the media and the Club have been so supportive of what we do and how we do it, that I think the gameday experience is starting to sell itself.

If I want a lifetime member, I put them on a Southsiders bus to Portland. If standing shoulder to shoulder behind a giant steel girder, singing your guts out against the insanity that is the TA doesn’t do it, it’s not meant to be.”

8.) How has it been having Rebecca Contant & Wendy Turnbull on the board of directors bringing a female perspective to the Southsiders?

Brett: “It’s the worst. I thought it was going to be awesome snacks and sandwiches on demand at board meetings, but it’s nothing like that. They have opinions and do work like the rest of us. I guess there is probably a wider variety of fashion at the table, but mostly it’s like 2 more awesome volunteers showed up to make things work.”

9.) Where would you rather watch a away game Seattle or Portland?

Brett: “Portland hands down. Portland as a place is like Vancouver with more awesome. The people there are a bit more consistent, they are every bit as passionate about their club and city but there is a level of animosity that I haven’t experienced.

Seattle is really good too, but they have a bit of an edge where the animosity is real, and I don’t dig that. They have a lot of great people, so I’ve learned not to generalize too much, but there is still an element there that I don’t personally enjoy.”

10.) Where do you see the Southsiders in 5 years?

Brett: “Doing what we do, but tighter, bigger and brighter.”

11.) Are you happy with the grow of the Southsiders since the Whitecaps have joined the MLS?

Brett: “Sure. Our size brings a lot of benefits and challenges, and I think the speed that we are growing exacerbates those challenges. I understand the balance that we have to walk between keeping the Club happy with what we are doing, and staying connected to the band of brothers that stood as pariahs at Swangard. It’s not always fun or easy, but I think it’s important to be mindful of where we came from as we move forward.”

Extra Time

12.) What is the best memory you have as a Whitecaps fan?

Brett: “So many. I’ll pick Hassli’s game winner against San Jose last year. I think I may have had an out of body experience.”

13.) If someone is interested in joining the Southsiders, how would they go about getting a membership?

Brett: “The best way is to join us at Doolins on a game day, sign up and start it out right with the full experience: warm up, march, and give it the full 90.

The easy way (and the one that will make the dudes that do the heavy lifting happy) is to use the website: http://vancouversouthsiders.ca/membership/. My advice to new members: don’t be shy! Get involved, ultimately this group is what you make of it.

You can find the Southsiders at Doolins every home game day. Thanks to Brett for letting us into the machine that is the Southsiders.”

Stay tuned for another great surprise guest next week…

Aaron Campbell
@AaCamp81

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Posted in: StartingXI