Standard direction to take on a Teal Bunbury interview is to play up the “father-son” angle. Teal and his father Alex are the first father-and-son pairing to grace MLS and Alex, Teal’s Dad, is a Canadian soccer legend.
Given that Teal probably answers more questions about his Dad then about pretty much anything else, we thought we’d ask Teal about his mom midstream through the interview. It went like this.
TSG: What influence did your mom have on your game growing up…given that everyone talks about your dad?
Teal: She’s had so much influence because when I was younger my dad was my coach, you know, and he was pretty hard on me.
I always had my mom backing me up when I was feeling down at times and she was really great. She’d help with my forms for tournaments or help pack my bags on trips. She’s been great throughout the years.
She’s really proud of me now, she’s really supportive and she’s really into everything. I’ve very thankful for her.
TSG: That’s great, but you just opened up a question about your Dad. How tough was he as a coach?
Teal: He was just always on my case for everything. It seemed like I could never really impress him.
But it was for the best and looking back on it I’m blessed that he did that because I wouldn’t be able to be where I am now without him.
TSG: Did you have to do something like line up 10 balls in a row and deposit them one-by-one in the top right corner. What was the hardest thing that he put you through in terms of your childhood training?
Teal: Well it wasn’t one specific thing, but it felt like every little thing I did in training he would critique. Obviously my teammates were there but it seemed like he was always singling me out for everything. If I had one bad touch he was on my case….which isn’t a bad thing though.
It prepared me for my career.
And….damn! TSG just fell into the the father-son angle trap. Sorry Teal. We tried.
Teal Bunbury is in Carson, California this month after being chosen and accepting an invitation to Bob Bradley’s US National Team January Camp. The 20-year-old tacked on a very busy offseason to a successful rookie campaign at now-Sporting KC.
Having traveled with Generation Adidas counterparts to exhibitions in Spain, Bunbury went for a two-week training session at Stoke City FC of the Barclays Premier League.
Following the conclusion to his time at Stoke, Bunbury had a quick turnaround for the holidays in his native Minnesota and now finds himself contesting a spot up top on the national team for the next three weeks in California.
Much has been accomplished in past two years for the physically imposing frontman including his first MLS goal and his first cap with the US National Team in South Africa.
However you get the sense when talking to Bunbury, who is soft-spoken and pauses to think before he speaks, that past accolades are quickly forgotten and merely a prologue to some long reaching goals that Bunbury has for himself.