VANCOUVER, BC – The story of Christian Dean and his brother Josh Huestis has been well documented. It’s a story they have been telling for years – quite happily, at that.
Born to the same mother but adopted by separate families, Dean and Huestis went their separate ways at childhood but always shared a bond that could not, or would not, be broken.
It’s a heartwarming story, which was detailed exceptionally in a recent MLSsoccer.com article, and another chapter was added to it on Sunday.
Around the same time that Dean made his professional debut with Vancouver Whitecaps FC against Chivas USA, it was confirmed that Huestis’ Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team had secured a spot in the upcoming National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) March Madness tournament.
Most people assumed that Stanford would qualify, but Dean needed to see it with his own eyes.
“Right after the game, I actually checked my phone to see what had happened,” Dean told whitecapsfc.com. “We kind of knew they were going to make it – or at least, they should have after the last few games that they won – but just seeing it set in stone was really nice. It was a huge day for the family.”
How Christian Dean wears his heart on his sleeve
A family that includes Dean’s adoptive parents, who were in the stands to see Dean’s debut on Sunday, Huestis’ adoptive parents, and their birth mother. It’s almost as if they’re one big family.
And the family will be paying close attention on Friday as Huestis and the 10th-seeded Cardinal take on the seventh-seeded New Mexico Lobos in their NCAA tournament opener.
Huestis, who is 15 months older than Dean, is a 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward. He’s coming off a season in which he set a new Stanford record for blocked shots and was named to the Pacific-12 Conference All-Defensive Team.
The 22-year-old has yet to appear in the NCAA March Madness tournament and this is his final year of college eligibility.
“I’m stoked for him,” Dean said. “He has elevated his game a lot and he deserves to showcase it.”
If there’s anyone who knows about Huestis’ game, it’s Dean. The two lived together for six months back in 2010, which was Huestis’ senior year in high school. And a lot of what they did revolved around basketball.
Dean spent a lot of time in the gym during those six months, whether it was watching Huestis’ practices and games or training with him as he prepared for Stanford.
“Seeing how he just drove himself so hard every day with basketball, it made me realize to get where I wanted to be I would need to do that too,” Dean said. “And since I moved back to California, that’s pretty much what I did.”
And with Huestis just an hour drive away from Dean, who went to school down the road at the University of California, Berkeley, he was still able to follow along as his big brother chased his basketball dream.
Dean would attend almost every home game and watch the others online – something he’s still tried to do since moving to Vancouver. And based on what he’s seen, Dean likes Stanford’s chances on Friday and hopefully after that, too.
One player to look out for – in addition to his brother, of course – is Canadian Dwight Powell, a good friend of Dean’s who he referred to as “one of the most exciting big men to watch in college basketball.”
“With the combination of him, my brother and the rest of the team, I think they’ll hopefully blow New Mexico out of the water,” Dean said. “I think it’s going to be a great game.”
Clearly, Dean has been following his brother’s progression – and it goes both ways. As you could imagine, the last few weeks have been pretty hectic for Huestis, but he’s still found time to check up on Dean in Vancouver.
“It makes me so happy that he was able to make his debut and it's crazy to think that he’s finally realizing his dream of playing pro soccer,” Huestis told whitecapsfc.com via email. “I've always known he could do whatever he wanted with soccer since he had the talent and it's amazing to see everything finally happening.”
Although it seems unimaginable now, there was a point in time not long ago when Dean wasn’t sure if he would pursue his professional soccer aspirations. In fact, if he weren’t drafted in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Dean said he would have tried to walk onto the University of California, Berkeley men’s basketball team so he could play against his brother.
But now, as he settles into life of a professional soccer player in Vancouver, he couldn’t be happier with the way things played out.
“It worked out perfectly.”
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